Mumbai: Maharashtra's School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) has proposed a 15-20% hike in school bus fees to schools and parents, starting April 1, 2023, informed Anil Garg, president of the association. The hike majorly stands to affect students enrolled in ICSE and CBSE schools using third-party bus contractors, whose academic year will also kick off in the coming month.
Justifying the proposed hike, Anil Garg said, “The bus manufacturing costs have risen by Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh per vehicle and now it costs us Rs 28 lakh to procure a minibus and Rs 21 lakh to buy a tempo traveller. The cost of our spare parts, tires, and even battery rates have gone up by 12-18%. The labour salary has also risen by Rs 2500 to 3000. We need to hike our fees.”
While many school principals have still not been informed about the upcoming hike, some are already planning meetings with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). “Our bus contractors and parents will have a meeting next week where both parties will discuss the fee and come to a proper agreement. The hike is still not final,” informed Kavita Sanghvi, Principal of SVKM's CNM School in Dahisar.
The last notable school bus fee hike was sanctioned when the schools reopened after the pandemic. Another hike within a two-year time is unpopular with many. “We accepted a 20% fee hike two years ago when the schools started opening up. Another increase in such less time is unacceptable,” said Fr. (Dr.) Francis Swamy, Principal of Campion School in Fort.
According to principals, while most parents apply for bus services at school, the fees they pay are directly transferred to the contractor hired by the schools.
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