A trip too dangerous

School Transport

A trip too dangerous

The Bangalore Traffic Police is not doing enough to ensure that the Supreme Court directive, which says the number of children in an auto, bus or private vehicle must not exceed one-and-half times the permitted seating capacity, is followed.

More than 700 cases have been booked in the City from June 1 till date. Metrolife visited a couple of schools across the City and found that auto drivers and private van drivers continue to pack children in their vehicles like sardines.

 Caught between the police and private transporters are parents, who fear for the safety of their children. Parents now have to either shell out more money to accommodate their children in private transport or are forced to make changes in their work schedule to pick and drop their children.

Additional commissioner of police (traffic) MA Saleem addressed a letter to school principals and school managements, at the beginning of the academic year, asking them to provide ‘safe journey mechanism’ for school children. 

The notification in the Motor Vehicles Act states, “No owner or operator of a motor vehicle shall permit the use of the vehicle as a transport vehicle for carrying school children unless he carries a valid contract carriage permit issued under Section 74 of the Act permitting the use of the vehicle for the said purpose.” 

Saleem points out, “The body of the school cab should be highway yellow with a horizontal green strip of 150 mm width in the middle, all around the vehicle. ‘School cab’ should be written on all four sides. The name and details of the drivers must be prominently displayed.” 

He states that a violation of this rule will attract a fine of Rs 2,500. “The vehicle will be seized and the fine will have to be paid in court,” reasons Saleem. 

Auto drivers say that it is difficult to comply with the new enforcement. Venkatesh, an auto driver, adds, “Earlier, we used to carry about eight children and charge a reasonable amount but now, with the reduction in the number of children, we are forced to charge more.

We have to make two or three trips and find it hard to make both ends meet.” Parents, who used to send their children by private vans and autos, have had to make alternative arrangements to take their children to school. Naureen Anish, a housewife, says that she used to send her son by private transport but she has stopped doing so.

“The auto drivers are so careless when they take children and safety is not guaranteed. So I decided to drop and pick up my children myself.” Sendhil Kumar, a businessman and a parent, says that he had a tough time trying to find transport for his son.

“My son used to travel by private transport but now with limited seats, I am finding it difficult to get a secure seat for him. So, I am taking him to school and back, until we find reliable transport,” he sums up. 

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