Mumbai: Members of Mumbai Bus Malak Sangathana (MBMS) are to join Maharashtra's School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) in demanding a 15-20% fee hike starting April 1, 2023. Several ICSE and CBSE schools in the city are also to begin their academic year around the same time.
“The wages we pay our bus drivers have risen quite a bit. The diesel rates are not what they used to be in 2020, which is why a fee hike is in order,” said Noble Antony, an office bearer of the MBMS school bus wing.
While the association members have demanded a 15-20% hike, its implementation will depend on the amount each school sanctions. “The school bus fee differs for almost every child. It will depend upon the distance which the school bus has to cover and the number of students it is carrying,” he said.
On March 23, as reported by The FPJ, members from the Maharashtra SBOA demanded a fee hike across the state to make up for the surging operational costs faced by the stakeholders. As per SBOA officials, nearly 950 school buses in Mumbai were wrongly fined by Mumbai traffic cops since November 2022 which has also led the association members to demand a fee hike.
The school bus association members were given their last raise two years ago when the bus fees were hiked by 20% owing to the distress caused by the pandemic. Demands for another hike in a short period of time remain unpopular with many.
“We accepted a 20% school bus fee hike two years ago when the schools started opening up after the covid-19 pandemic. Another increase in such less time is unacceptable,” Fr. (Dr.) Francis Swamy, Principal of Campion School in Fort, had told The FPJ.
While most parents apply for the bus services at the school, the fees paid by parents are directly transferred to the contractor hired by the schools, explained principals. The fees are debated in a session with all three stakeholders till an agreeable hike is sanctioned.
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