The message is clear

STEADY MOVE

The message is clear

safety measure School buses will now have speed governors. DH photo by Janardhan B K

This news has brought a lot of relief for the parents, school managements and traffic police. All of them now hope that speeding school buses will be a rare sight. This follows a Supreme Court order that mandates speed curbs for public transport and school buses.  

 Senior officers with the traffic police point out that not only private buses, even speeding school buses are a common sight on Hebbal Main Road, Tumkur Road, Hosur Road, Bellary Main Road and Old Madras Road. “They may not drive in a rash manner within the City but they surely overspeed on roads that are traffic-free. School buses, loaded with children, overtaking other vehicles is a matter of concern and we hope that speed governors will help curb this trend,” observes Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Safety) M A Saleem. Saleem says school managements should take the Supreme Court ruling seriously. “This move will help our effort to popularise the ‘safe route to school’ programme initiated by the traffic police. We have been trying our best to control rash driving among school buses,” he adds.

Transport Commissioner T Shyam Bhat points out that all educational institutions have been directed to install speed governors in their buses at the earliest. “School buses cannot drive in a rash manner within the City thanks to the traffic congestion,” he says. “Not only school buses, all public transport will have speed governors. Given that the highways are now good, there is also a move to increase the speed limit from 65 km per hour to 75 or 80 km per hour. This will surely discipline rash drivers,” he adds.  
Manufacturers of speed governors are bracing up for the last-minute rush. They have marked out 26 locations in Bangalore for fitting the devices.

“We can activate these centres in a week’s notice. The only thing is people have to be interested,” says one of the manufacturers. Speed governors cost anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 22,000, depending on the type of vehicle. Another senior official with the Transport Department says, “Speed governors will not allow vehicles to go beyond the set speed due to which, vehicles will get more mileage. They will also reduce the wear and tear of the tyres, engine and use less consumables like lubricants.”  
The official also informs that the device is largely tamper-proof. “Unless someone has a specific software, it cannot be meddled with. The inbuilt software ensures that the vehicle stops,” he adds.

School managements have welcomed the move. Renu Benny, principal of Kensri, points out that this is an encouraging move by the government. She observes that all their school buses have been fit with speed governors. “We hold regular orientation for the transport staff. We also have a transport manager in place to check the route and speed management of the drivers regularly. If any driver is found tampering with this, we dismiss him. However, once they are out on the road, it becomes extremely difficult to monitor them,” says Renu. 

But Benny Joseph, principal of Clarence High School, says that the school doesn’t not offer transport and parents have to make their own arrangements. “We are more of a neighbourhood school and we largely cater to people living in and around the school. Parents should make sure they choose the right kind of transport for their children,” he explains.

Parents are glad that the government has finally taken note of rash school buses. Mariam Thomas has a six-year-old daughter Rahel who studies in class one at Sophia High School. She feels rules need to be closely monitored and offer scope for reporting, feedback and corrective action. “Rules, that are implemented with lofty ideals, rapidly lose momentum and are soon forgotten. Bus routes for schools should be well thought-out, taking into consideration both distance and traffic density so that buses are not pushed to speed up,” she sums up.

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