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05Oct2015

Hectic Driver Schedules Pose Threat to School Ride Safety!

 

Bangalore: Last week a school bus ran onto the pavement and killed a pedestrian. The situation clearly highlights the absence of school bus driver regulations and the threat kids are in. The driver confirmed that because of his dizzy feeling, he lost control.

The issue is that most school bus drivers work as cab drivers at night. School administrations and traffic police said the quantity of school transport drivers is reducing.

Drivers regard cab industry more lucrative one. They spend their nights on the roads till early hours of the morning as cabbies. After few hours of sleep they report for duty by 6am then they ship children to acquire more cash. The outcome:  Drivers napping while duty.

The owner of a school in south-east Bengaluru said teachers had noticed drivers dozing off at the wheel. "We recently fired three drivers," he said.

High attrition: M Srinivasan, founder-chairman, Gear Innovative International School, said that getting school transport drivers is troublesome as the standards recommend that they must have completed Class 12 and have five years of experience.

Read Also: School Bus Safety Awareness Seminar

"Attrition due to the cab sector has made things more difficult. In the past year, we 80% of our drivers quit and we had to hire a fresh," he said.

After quitting school transportation services, drivers are joining cab agencies, schools are well aware about this. School bus drivers get maximum Rs 15,000 a month as salary. As cab drivers they can make up to Rs 30,000 a month.

A school transport driver begins his day around 6am consistently and drives 60km to 100km. Mahesh, a driver with a reputed school confirmed that he drove a taxicab till 2am every day after completing work at school.

"All of us need money given the rising prices. Cab operators are providing good incentives. Many drivers are raising loans and buying cabs to make the most of the incentives. Doing two jobs is a must to clear these loans," he said.

Mansoor Ali Khan, member, board of management, Delhi Public Schools said that 15% of their drivers left the job over the last few months. Many drivers joined cab services, absenteeism has increased, he added.

Seven of the 25 drivers in Primus Public School have stopped their occupations in the past year. Capt Unnikrishnan, managing trustee of the school, said discovering a school transport driver with the right mentality is difficult. "We have to make sure they are good drivers, patient and have concern for the children in their care. It is difficult to find drivers with the right temperament."

Nigar Sultana, principal, Cambridge Public School, Yelahanka, pointed out that more and more drivers are lured by cab companies. Children are not safe with drivers working as cabbies during nights. Last year two of her school's seven drivers have stopped the job. She said and it's hard to find substitutions.

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