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No school buses on rainy days, says School Bus Owners' Association

The School Bus Owners’ Association has threatened to stop plying vehicles in areas where waterlogging is a severe issue

Every monsoon, Mumbaikars bear the brunt of pothole-ridden roads. While governing authorities continue to turn a blind eye to the issue, it has prompted local bodies to take extreme measures. The School Bus Owners’ Association (SBOA) has now threatened to stop plying buses in areas where waterlogging is a severe issue, as it not only jeopardises the lives of children but also damages the vehicles.

school buses
Bus owners estimate that they have to bear thrice the price for repairing vehicles that get damaged in the rains. FILE PHOTO

Anil Garg, president of SBOA, said, “If the rains are heavy, we will inform parents through an SMS that buses will not ply that day. It’s about time the civic authorities pay attention to waterlogging,” he said. “Recently, three of our school buses were stuck in Dharavi, Kurla and Powai. One was stuck in a drainage hole as the driver couldn’t see the road properly due to waterlogging. Children’s lives are in grave danger now,” said Garg. Last year, too, the tyre of a school bus was stuck in an open manhole at Dharavi as the driver couldn’t notice it due to water logging, he added.

An expensive affair
Bus owners estimate that they have to shell out at least thrice the cost for repairing damaged vehicles in the monsoon. “Potholes spoil the tyres and if the bus is stuck in a waterlogged area, the engine goes for a toss. To avoid potholes, our drivers might end up ramming the vehicle into other cars which will be even more dangerous,” said Garg.

Bad roads and waterlogging have also led to many school buses running late. “Last week, it rained heavily on two consecutive days and, on both days, one of our school buses entered the school premises 10 minutes after lectures had begun. We have asked parents to start sending their kids earlier than usual to avoid delay,” said the vice-principal of a Kurla school, on condition of anonymity.

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