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Commuting to school in Mumbai? You can only take the school bus, says traffic police

The advisory was issued to these schools a week ago with a view to ease the chaotic jams witnessed on the roads near them during morning and evening peak hours.

mumbai Updated: Jul 25, 2017 15:47 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,mumbai schools,traffic in mumbai

As the traffic police intensify its’ crackdown on illegal and irresponsible parking of vehicles, five premier schools in south Mumbai and an equal number in the western suburbs have been asked to make school buses compulsory for students by discouraging guardians from dropping children in private vehicles.

Joint commissioner of police, traffic, Amitesh Kumar told HT on Monday that the advisory was issued to these schools a week ago with a view to ease the chaotic jams witnessed on the roads near them during morning and evening peak hours. “In fact, schools should make travel by school buses compulsory for students. Halting of private four wheelers (drops) should be completely banned near schools keeping in mind its’ fall out on regular traffic,” he added.

While Campion, J B Petit, Cathedral and Alexandria are amongst the major schools in south Mumbai that have been issued the advisory, Poddar, Manekji Cooper and Bombay Scottish are amongst the schools in the western suburbs included in, what the traffic police calls, the pilot scheme. “Many more schools where similar traffic situation has been witnessed will be covered in a phased manner,” Kumar added.

Cathedral and John Connon School, Fort, has been following a school bus compulsory policy for the last ten years, but the traffic congestion outside the school still continues. “There are three to four schools in the vicinity and senior students often stay back after school for various activities and so they cannot take the school bus,” said Meera Isaacs, principal of the school. She added that DN road, outside the school has been dug up for metro construction. “This has added to our problems. The traffic is still a nightmare.”

While making it clear that the advisory is more of a request than an order to be followed, Kumar said that the schools have been promised adequate parking space for the buses (during that time) as an alternative against the effective implementation of the scheme. “Most of the schools cite lack of parking space for buses as the reason for asking students make their own arrangements to commute. We are offering them a solution,” the traffic police chief said.

Podar International School recently met with the traffic authorities to discuss ways to reduce congestion. “Making school buses compulsory will make a difference in easing up traffic,” said Vandana Lulla, director-principal of the school. “But it will only happen if we create a school bus culture among parents. Teachers should start taking the bus and then students will follow.”

Without disclosing names, Kumar claimed that as many as six (out of the 10) schools have responded to the police advisory by stating that they would make mandatory school bus policy for students. “We are in discussion with other schools to implement the scheme,” he added.

The traffic police’s advisory was based on the feedback it received from the chowkies, spread across the city. About a month back, the chowkies had been asked to identify at least two bottlenecks in their respective areas and identify the reasons. It emerged that halting of private vehicles (cars/suvs) near schools during the opening and closure hours was one of the main reasons for the traffic jams as it coincided with the timings of traffic flow. “Schools should discuss with parent’s bodies and implement the mandatory school bus policy for the greater benefit of motorists,” Kumar said.

First Published: Jul 25, 2017 15:47 IST