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Lack of students forces school bus operators to try new routes in and around Kolkata

At Indus Valley World School, the number of students in a 40-seater bus on an average is 10 to 12

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 12.02.22, 08:01 AM

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Schools are combining and chalking out routes for buses to run as in-person classes have resumed but the number of students is still low.

In several schools, a third of the fleet is running because all classes are yet to return to campus. In at least one school, the bus operator is unable to start services because only 20-odd students have made requests and all of them far from one another.

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Another school that had let go of the buses last year is now working out whether they can resume bus services in a viable way.

Schools have reopened for classes VIII to XII. In some schools, not all students of a class are called every day and not all classes are called daily.

In Delhi Public School New Town, 38 of the 100 buses are running, 14 of 32 in Indus Valley World School and one-third of vehicles in Asian International School.

At South City International School and Sri Sri Academy, services are yet to resume.

“The bulk of the students who avail of the bus services are from the primary and middle school. It is difficult for operators to start unless they get enough students,” said John Bagul, principal, South City International School.

At Indus Valley World School, the number of students in a 40-seater bus on an average is 10 to 12.

“There are parents who have not withdrawn their children from the bus service. So, we have to provide them with the service,” said Amita Prasad, the director of the school.

Prasad said in some areas where there is a huge demand, the operator has had to combine two or three routes but even then the number of students is barely 10.

Sri Sri Academy is trying to work out the details but is doubtful about running services unless the whole school resumes.

“We are exploring options where we would fill up 50 per cent capacity of the bus and even then it might not be viable,” said Suvina Shunglu, the principal of the school.

Anurag Agarwal who has 1,000-odd buses in and around the city said: “In some schools, we are running a third of the fleet. But, for example, there is a school where only 20 students contacted us and all from different routes and it is not viable to have a service.”

Last updated on 12.02.22, 08:01 AM
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