Give financial aid to school bus drivers: AssociationUpdated: Aug 05, 2020 01:49 IST
Citing difficulty in sustaining financially due to lockdown owing to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the city, school bus and bus operators associations have urged the Maharashtra government to provide financial relief to the drivers.
The association has stated that over 50,000 school buses and around 1.5 lakh bus staffers are currently under financial distress as they have lost their jobs.
They have asked the Maharashtra government to provide salaries to the bus staffers during the lockdown period, along with a waiver of taxes. The association has given a list of demands including deferment of motor insurance, subsidised fuel rates, vehicle sanitisation, increasing the age limit of school buses from eight to 20 years, increasing the capacity of school buses, the experience of five years for bus drivers to be abolished if the driver has a heavy vehicle licence and parking facilities for school buses.
“We are staring at a bleak situation, as the schools are closed for many months. Simultaneously, bus owners have not received the transportation fees for the academic year ending May 2020,” said Anil Garg, president, School Bus Owner Association.
“Majority of the bus crew members especially bus drivers are from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Karnataka. Most of them have gone back to their home towns, amid the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown. We are not sure whether they will be back to serve after the school reopens. If this continues, there will be a massive shortage of drivers and cleaners and it will be very difficult to operate school buses. We would seek government intervention to provide some support to the bus owners and staff members to bring them out of this crisis.” Garg said.
Similar demands on providing financial aid to drivers and waving of vehicle interest for autorickshaws and black and yellow taxis have been raised by Autorickshaw and black and yellow taxi unions in the city.
“We have also sought financial aid of ₹10,000 per month to the drivers during the lockdown,” said AL Quadros, leader, Mumbai Taximen’s Union.
Meanwhile, both autorickshaw and taxi unions have asked for an increase in minimum fares. Taxi unions have asked to increase minimum fare from ₹22 to ₹25 and the same for autorickshaws from ₹18 to ₹22.