Pune schools mulling to start own bus services

Fed up with school bus owners' recurring strikes, some education institutes have begun operating their own buses

Troubled by the recurring problem of outsourced school buses going on intermittent strikes, some of the school managements in the city are mulling to start their own bus services. 

How long? Nearly 800 private school buses that ferry around 15,000 
students to and from school will remain off the road until the matter 
is resolved. Representation pic

Some of the schools authorities say that they have already started operating their own bus services knowing that the perpetual skirmishes between bus owners and RTO will not end anytime soon. 

As the school bus transport operators have threatened to go on strike from today against the norms laid down by the transport authorities, schools and students are likely to suffer a great deal. 

Nearly 800 private school buses that ferry about 15,000 students to and from school will remain off the road until the matter is resolved. "We run our own fleet of buses, but are concerned about the strike. We would be taking extra precautions and will deploy more guards in the bus to be on the safer side. So if there is any agitation on the streets, our students would be safe," said R Joshi, principal, JSPMS Cygnet High School.

 "We are in a process of starting our own bus service from next month," said an administrator of Gurukul High School. Transport authorities and school bus owners who are not ready to follow the new safety regulations are at loggerheads.

Bus owners have been asked to install horizontal bars outside bus windows with a gap of five inches, install pole post inside the bus, besides appointing two lady attendants in each vehicle. "Every time buses go on a strike, residents across Wadgam Shinde, Lohegaon and Viman-Nagar area suffer the most," said Luvi Ranga, a resident of Lohegaon, whose children study in schools that are 20-km away.

"We have asked the schools to start their own private services. If the buses go on strike we will have to opt for auto rickshaws, which are very expensive," Ranga added. Abdul Zia, parent of seven-year-old Hasnain who studies in MSB Educational Institute, said, "We pay the school fees but still have to face all this. Why can't the state government come up with a solution?"

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