Safety norms for school buses took centre stage after the molestation case of a four-year-old schoolgirl by a bus attendant came to light on Monday.

Auto rickshaw drivers complain that RTO officers are lenient with bus drivers and often, don’t even check them for the mandatory badges. Representation pic
Auto rickshaw drivers complain that RTO officers are lenient with bus drivers and often, don’t even check them for the mandatory badges. Representation pic 

City-based auto rickshaw drivers and the union have pinned the blame on the RTO for their lackadaisical attitude concerning school bus safety. They claim that it is the RTO's responsibility to make sure that school transport services comply with the prescribed guidelines.

Unfair treatment
"All those who transport passengers in their vehicles, are required to have a Public Service Badge (PSB). Autos and buses too fall in this bracket.

While issuing permits to school buses, this badge is not checked and is also ignored by RTO inspectors during road checks. On the other hand, rickshaw drivers are treated unfairly and are fined for every norm violated during checks," said Bappu Bhave, president of Auto Rickshaw Student Transport Union.

Responding to these allegations, Pune Regional Transport Officer Jeetendra Patil, said, "It is not true that only auto rickshaws are targeted by the RTO. Drives are being carried out all over the city and we are checking school buses, autos, and other vehicles.

We are doing regular checks of all transport vehicles in the city after the untoward incident took place. Even before this, school buses were properly checked according to the safety norms."

4,000
Number of schools in the city

8,500
The number of rickshaws transporting students daily from home to school