Mumbai: Transport minister Sachin Ahir also said that flying squads of the RTO have been deployed since two days to monitor the implementation of the School Bus Policy. Ahir said, “RTO officials are being extremely stringent and bus operators are asked to update their system immediately if the officers feel there is something lagging.”

According to the school bus policy this year, buses have to be painted yellow while private buses with schoolchildren will have to get yellow bands. The buses need to be equipped with first aid boxes, fire extinguishers etc.

Anil Garg of the School Bus Operators Association, said, “It is great that the flying squads are checking the buses, but they should also check private vans that carry kids.” “Many a time these van drivers push in around 16 children into one van which is extremely unsafe as the kids might be injured if the driver applies brakes suddenly,” added Garg.

Some other additions are convex cross view rear mirrors for the driver, hand rails, low floor doors, emergency exits and speed governors so that they do not cross the 40 km per hour speed limit in the city. Bus operators have to now get a special permit from the RTO to run a school bus and set up a special district school bus safety committee.

Many schools have still to form stipulated panels, and bus operators in the city had threatened a fee hike, if they had to implement all the new accessories.

The rule now says that a vehicle should carry the complete list of children and have female attendants if the buses are carrying girls.

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