Parents struggle as private school buses stay off road

The drivers demand fulfilment of their long-pending demands. DH file photo

Parents struggled to bring their wards to schools on Wednesday as private vehicles that ferry children to schools across Bengaluru stayed off the road to protest against alleged harassment by police, demanding government support for the unorgnised sector. 

Association of several drivers' unions held a convention under the banner of Karnataka United School and Light Motor Vehicles Drivers' Union (KUSLMVDU), called upon the government to recognise their contributions to the society. 

In a congested city like Bengaluru, drivers taking children to schools in vans and light motor vehicles provide a yeoman service, K V Bhat, state vice president of All India United Trade Union Centre, said. "Each vehicle carries 10 to 16 children. If one van remains off the road, it means addition of more than 10 vehicles to the traffic as parents are forced to drive the children to the schools," he said.

Also read — Private school buses to be off roads today

KUSLMVDU president P S Shanmugam said it was high time politicians and officials recognised the role of drivers. "The amended Motor Vehicle Act has added to the misery of the drivers. The government has caused us enough misery by bringing in rules that ban vehicles older than 15 years. We urge the officials to introduce a separate scheme for issuing permits to vehicles operated as school bus," he said.

While children in schools that provide pick-up and drop service were not affectted, drivers attending the convention said more than 5,000 institutions in Benglauru do not have their own bus services, forcing parents to depend on light motor vehicles operated by third parties. 

"We are fined for parking on the road while waiting for children to come out of the school. Why does the government not take action against schools that operate without parking space," asked Ganesh M N, a driver.

Parents had a hard time sending their children to schools as they to had make alternative arrangments in the morning peak hour before rushing to work.

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