The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 4 , 2014
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Better traffic, safer cities Lens on
‘illegal’ school buses

All school buses in the capital will be checked at random at least two days a week after Holi vacation.

A much-needed decision taken after Ranchi district transport officer (DTO) found many school buses without papers during a surprise check on March 1, if raids are done, it would ensure implementation of Supreme Court and Motor Vehicles Act guidelines and make the lives of thousands of students safer.

“When district transport officer Rajesh Kumar carried out a surprise check during 1pm to 2pm on March 1 after getting complaints of overloading from some parents, he found many school buses plying on city roads did not have proper documents,” the official said.

“I did not find overloading or any major violation. But bus drivers and conductors don’t keep documents relating to buses with them. Most said documents were with school management. So, I have decided to hold surprise checks at least two days a week. Before this, I am sending notices to schools concerned,” DTO Kumar said.

On missing documents, a traffic official listed out basics. “The bus must have a copy of valid agreement with the school; complete list of student passengers with names, classes, residential addresses and points of embarkation and disembarkation; fitness certificate, owner’s book, insurance papers; tax payment receipts, among others,” he said.

DTO Kumar added that buses intercepted during surprise checks included those associated with Taurian World School, DAV International School, Cambrian School, Bishop Westcott Girls’ School and others.

Citing an instance, he said: “Cambrian School bus was found was running without registration number though other parameters were okay.”

A district transport official spelt out the Supreme Court guidelines.

A bus ferrying students must be golden yellow, sport “School Bus” signage on the back and front and if hired, “On School Duty”. The name of the school and telephone number must be visible. A school bus must have a first-aid box, fire extinguisher, racks for bags, convex cross view mirrors on which the driver can see exit and entry doors, and an adult attendant. Windows must be fitted with horizontal grilles and doors with reliable locks.

No bus is permitted to overload or make any child sit on laps of others.

Plus, only a driver with at least five years of experience should be hired. Any driver who has been booked by police more than twice in a calendar year for violations like overtaking, jumping off red lights and violating parking regulations should not be allowed to drive a school bus. Also, he should not cross the 40kmph speed limit.

Rules also direct drivers to wear grey trousers and jacket as a uniform, complete with a visible ID card. The name of the bus owner must also figure in the card.

Director of Cambrian School Mahesh Bareja welcomed the step. “Every step for student safety is welcome,” he said.

On the charge that one of his school buses did not have registration number, he said: “We have new van without registration number and may be that the DTO intercepted that one. I can’t say anything more on the matter as I have not received any notice from the transport office.”

Have you checked the safety of your child’s school bus?


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