‘Safety of kids travelling by school buses is collective responsibility,’ says president of School Bus Owners Association

‘Safety of kids travelling by school buses is collective responsibility,’ says president of School Bus Owners Association

A Deputy RTO official from Panvel said that they conduct training and awareness programmes for school vans and bus drivers

Amit SrivastavaUpdated: Saturday, March 04, 2023, 08:02 PM IST
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Navi Mumbai: Days after a school bus driver exhibited apathy and drove away when a student fell from the bus in Navi Mumbai, the president of School Bus Owners Association (SBOA), Maharashtra, Anil Garg said that the onus of students’ safety lies with the school.

Garg said, “There is a need to understand that seven-seater vehicles are not allowed to ferry students. A school van should at least be 17-seaters and must be registered for the purpose.”

He added that even if parents hire school vans from private operators, it’s the responsibility of the school to verify the license of the van and if it’s registered as a school vehicle or for commercial purposes. The other details of the van driver and attendant should also be available with the school, he said.

"RTO needs to take preventive measures"

Admitting negligence in the incident, Garg said any such matter must be highlighted and added that the RTO needs to take preventive measures.

A Deputy RTO official from Panvel said that they conduct training and awareness programmes for school vans and bus drivers. “One such session was conducted post-Covid,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sudhir Dani, the founder of Alert Citizen Forum and an education activist, said that it’s collective responsibility. “Taking action against one van or bus driver will not solve the problem. It is better to make the entire system transparent. A WhatsApp number can be issued by the local authority to lodge a complaint regarding the safety of school children commuting by vans or buses. There must be fear among stakeholders that someone is watching,” said Dani. 

Garg's statement after two recent incidents

On February 27, a nine-year-old student of Kalsekar English Medium School in Phase 1, Taloja, sustained injuries to his wrist and eyes after falling down while alighting from the school van. The van driver, instead of helping the student, left him unattended.

Similarly, on Dec 13, 2022, it was a narrow escape for around 40 students of Indian Model School in Ulwe as the school bus driver ferried them under the influence of alcohol. His inebriated condition was revealed when he hit an auto-rickshaw on the way to school.

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