With the state transport dept snapping up all the school buses in the city for election duty on October 14 and 15, students have to make alternative transport arrangements
While Mumbai will be enveloped in election fever on October 14 and 15, school students across the city will be left in a quandary, with all school buses being assigned to election duty on both days.
Over 1,000 school buses will be used for election duty on October 14 and 15. File pic
As 70 per cent government employees go on election duty on Tuesday and Wednesday, over 1,000 school buses have been commissioned by the state transport department to ferry them.
The buses will also be used to carry ballot boxes, documents, and other necessary voting paraphernalia like stamps and ink. While all schools will stay shut on October 15, several will conduct classes on October 14, and some are even holding examinations for students that day.
Without school buses, parents will now have to make other arrangements to send their children to school. Sources in the Regional Transport Office (RTO) said that on October 9, a circular was issued informing schools and school bus associations that they will have to give the buses for election duty.
“Not just the buses plying on rental basis, but also those owned by the schools will have to be handed over for elections,” said an officer. Buses will not be available to ferry children starting 12 am on October 14. Most state board schools, which are also being used as voting centres, will remain shut on October 14 as well, and will be unaffected by this news.
However, except for a few schools that have announced Diwali holidays starting from October 13 itself, most non-state board schools will remain functional on Tuesday and will have to make temporary adjustments for a day. Several ICSE and CBSE schools have already finished conducting mid-term examinations, and are currently conducting regular lectures for their students.
“We can’t call off school because of unavailability of school buses. I’m sure the parents will come to the rescue. We have a very supportive team of parents and in times like these, they often end up arranging transport for children,” said Deepshikha Srivastava, principal of Rajhans Vidyalaya, Andheri.
“We just finished conducting mid-term examinations, and the biggest relief is that buses were functional throughout. During regular lectures, it is easier to inform parents and ask them to arrange for transport, and that is exactly what we’ve done for October 14,” said Shim Mathew, principal of Vibgyor High School in Goregaon.
Some state board schools might face trouble however, especially since they are conducting exams on October 14. “We knew about the buses not plying on the 14th, so we are only holding exams for std IX and X students, and have asked them to arrange for transport. The younger children will be on a holiday,” said Sangeeta Srivastav, principal of SVP School and TP Bhatia Junior College.
School buses in city
550 - Andheri RTO
380 - Wadala RTO
356 - Tardeo RTO