During a meeting of the District School Bus Safety Committee on Tuesday, paramount importance was placed on addressing concerns related to student safety during transportation and ensuring strict adherence to school bus regulations. In addition, the safety of women, senior citizens, and all passengers traveling at night was also identified as a top priority. The committee aims to implement comprehensive measures that create a safer environment for students and the general public alike, especially during nighttime travel.
Present at the committee meeting held at Police Commissionerate were Pune City Police Commissioner Ritesh Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police Sandeep Karnik, Deputy Commissioner of Police Vijay Kumar Magar, Regional Transport Officer Ajit Shinde, Pune Rural Additional Superintendent of Police Dr Mitesh Ghatte, Deputy Regional Transport Officer Sanjeev Bhor, Atul Ade, and others.
Commissioner Kumar stressed that strict compliance with school bus regulations is essential to prevent accidents and ensure the overall well-being of students during their commute between home and school. He highlighted the necessity of having helpers (attendants) on school buses, with female helpers on buses carrying girls. The drivers operating these buses must be well-trained, morally competent, and possess a good track record, responsibilities that must be overseen by the School Transport Committee.
Passenger safety at night
Another crucial aspect discussed during the meeting was passenger safety at night. Ritesh Kumar proposed a joint special campaign involving the police department, transport branch, and transport department to check vehicles such as autorickshaws, taxis, etc., to safeguard women working night shifts in information technology companies and other places, as well as senior citizens and all passengers traveling at night. The campaign aims to tackle issues like fare disputes, theft, and other misdemeanors that may occur during nighttime travel. The Police Commissioner also urged strict actions, including confiscating number plates of vehicles with fancy plates and impounding such vehicles, against drivers and vehicles found violating the rules.
Joint Commissioner of Police, Sandeep Karnik, emphasized the importance of ensuring that school transport committees effectively carry out their responsibilities according to school bus rules. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Vijay Kumar Magar, stressed the need for local self-government bodies and municipal councils to establish school transport committees in both government and private schools, with regular meetings to promote awareness and sensitivity on the matter.
Regional Transport Officer, Ajit Shinde, underscored the role of schools in creating a memorandum of understanding with the school bus operators, ensuring valid certificates of competence and adherence to school bus regulations. He urged the local government's attention to this matter and emphasized that students should not be transported in private passenger vehicles without agreements with the school. He called upon the transport department and police to immediately address any instances of unauthorized traffic.
During the presentation, Deputy Regional Transport Officer, Sanjeev Bhor, introduced a new website, , facilitating the work of the School Bus Student Transport Committee in the district. The website has already registered 5,731 schools and 9,663 school buses. Bhor called upon the education department to encourage the remaining schools to register on the platform. Additionally, he highlighted that 709 school buses and 417 other vehicles were inspected by the Transport Department between January and July 10, 2023, in an effort to curb illegal transportation of school students. A total of 178 school buses and 84 other vehicles were found guilty, leading to the impounding of 35 vehicles. A fine of ₹29,75,000 was collected for violations during this action.