With less than a week is left for the schools and colleges to re-open, only 500 school and college buses out of the 1,200 plying in the city have undergone fitness certificate test that was being conducted by the Transport Department. A total of 9,700 school buses ply in Greater Hyderabad and Rangareddy district, of which 1,200 ply in Hyderabad and remaining 8,500 in Ranga Reddy. With only 500 buses out of 1,200 obtained fitness certificates, it translates to 58 per cent remaining unfit.
It was mandated that all buses operated by the educational institutions should obtain fitness certificates (FCs) from Transport Department by June, to ensure safety of students. Despite that instruction, the management of the institutions turns a deaf ear and now it appears a mammoth task to complete the fitness test with less than a week left for the city schools to re-open, the RTA officials maintained. It was observed by the Transport officials that many corporate schools in the city are plying their school buses without relevant documents and FC.
Moreover, they carry children more than the seating capacity clearly violating the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act 1988. Talking to Metro India, the Joint Commissioner Hyderabad district RTA, T Raghunath said that buses which were more than 15 years old will not be allowed to ply and any school or college violating the law will be penalised and the fine amount for operating school buses without FCs was Rs 10,000.
When asked as old vehicles having Maharashtra and Karnataka registration were being used by city schools and colleges by making them look new with a fresh coat of paint, he said, “We maintain a database of all vehicles and the date of manufacture of the vehicle is displayed once the registration number is fed into the system. Even one day of delay of renewal of FC, the tax and renewal would not be accepted by the system,” he said.
Replying to a query as to how many cases have been booked so far this year against errant school buses for various violations, he said that government has instructed to conduct raids only after May 31. “So the question of booking does not arise. Let the schools open and our teams would conduct raids for fitness of vehicles,” Raghunath explained.
“We refused to renew fitness certificates for buses as they failed in producing bonafide documents and follow other rules,” a regional transport officer said adding that the managements were asked to attend fitness tests again along with all original documents and fitting buses with at least two fire extinguishers. The Joint Commissioner also said, “A refresher course is being planned for school bus drivers at Tirumulgherry and Nagole offices respectively where drivers will be sensitised about road safety. The programme is scheduled to begin once the schools start functioning.”
1.The name ‘School Bus’ should be displayed in the front and rear and hired buses should display ‘On School Duty’.
2.No extra children should be taken on the bus more than seating capacity and buses should have a maximum of 25-40 seating capacity.
3.The driver should have a minimum of five years of experience and he should not be more than 50 years of age. The driver should always be accompanied by an attendant.
4.There should be a provision for school bags under the seats and managements should provide a first-aid box in the bus.
5.Windows on buses should always have horizontal grills and the bus body should display of school name and telephone numbers.
6.Height of the first step should not exceed 325mm, overhead container to keep school bags, a functioning speedometer and horn.