School bus is undoubtedly the most convenient means of student transportation. But unfortunately, there are a number of safety issues faced by students travelling by school vehicles. Hence, there are a number of laws in place for ensuring safety.
The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) summarized the benefits of these laws as providing comfort, security and safety for students and parents alike. These benefits include reaching schools on time, reducing pollution emission resulting from vehicle exhausts and reducing traffic jams.
The Road and Transport Authority (RTA)
Roads and Transport Authority has provided the following control measures to schools, parents and transport operators.
1) Window tinting of school buses shall not exceed 30%, with the possibility of opening the window up to 10 cm only, whether from top or
sideways; curtains are forbidden.
2) Maximum speed of the school bus shall not exceed 80/kph, with a speed control device installed conforming to the specifications and conditions specified by the Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology
Specifications of Bus Exterior:
- The color of the bus shall be yellow, grade (RAL 1018 Zink Gelb GL841) without overlapping of any other color, unless the manufacturer cannot paint certain parts of the bus (i.e. the parts made of non-metallic material such as the front bumper etc) the color of such parts shall be black.
- The phrase «School Bus» shall be written in black in Arabic and English, with a font size of no less than 80 inch (20 cm) in height. It shall be written between the upper hazard lights or at the uppermost part on the front and rear sides of the bus, and in the middle of both sides of the bus.
- The size of the phrase «School Bus», together with the name of the operator or any other third party, shall not exceed 1500 square cm.
- The school bus shall be fitted with an Electronic Stop Rod on the exterior side, directly behind the driver’s door so that the word «Stop» is displayed outwards electronically, with two red lights flashing when the bus stops.
The bus must be fitted with light indicators system as follows:
a) Dual red light indicator on the uppermost part of the front/ rear sides of the bus.
b) Dual yellow light indicator on the uppermost part of the front/rear sides of the bus.
c) All light indicators shall start giving alerting indicators when the bus stops.
- All buses shall place the “School Bus” sign on the right front side and the left rear side of the bus. The sign should be made of a reflective material, and measure 25 × 25 cm for large-size buses, and 17 × 17 cm for mini-buses.
- Window tinting of school buses shall not exceed 30%, and the window can be opened up to 10 cm maximum, whether from top or sideways; curtains are forbidden.
- It is strictly prohibited to place bars on windows internally or externally.
- The bus number shall be written on the uppermost side of the right side of the bus rear side and the left of its rear side.
- The mirrors system shall show all sides of the bus.
Specifications of seats and bus interior;
- The number of seats specified by the manufacturing company must be adhered to, and no collapsible middle seats are to be used.
- The side hand rests; ashtrays, arm support, and any other solid materials must be removed from the back side of seats.
- Each school bus must be fitted with a cooling system adjusted to operating at a temperature not exceeding 24 degrees Celsius.
- There must be a compartment for bags, provided that it neither obstructs students› movement nor falls on students in cases of sudden stop, accidents or during the normal bus movement.
- The two doors of the bus must be fitted with hand rails to assist the boarding process.
- The floor of the bus isle must be covered by inflammable and non-slippery rubber.
- The door opening and closing mechanism must be controlled by the driver, and electronic control is preferred.
Bus Safety Standards;
- Maximum speed of the school bus shall not exceed 80/kph, with a speed control device installed, conforming to the specifications and conditions specified by the Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology.
- Each bus must contain first aid kit proportionate to the number of seats.
The bus must be fitted with a manual fire extinguisher, as follows:
a) One 6-kg fire extinguisher if the school bus is less than 10-meter long.
b) Two fire extinguishers if the school bus is 10-meter long or more.
c) The extinguishers must be suitable for all kinds of fires and placed in a designated place near the driver’s seat, with a sign indicating that place.
- The lifespan of the school bus must not exceed 15 years as of the date of manufacturing.
- The school bus must have emergency exits proportionate to the number of passengers, with clear signs indicating these exits. There must be no hindrances impeding students’ movement in emergency cases.
- The bus must have 2-buckle safety belts fitted to all front-open passenger seats such as front seats, and middle seat in the last row. The driver’s seat must be fitted with a 3-point safety belt.
- There must be no sharp edges in interior & exterior sides of the bus.
- The school bus must have emergency exits proportionate to the number of passengers, in addition to one emergency exit in each side of buses with more than 16 seats. The exit door and driver’s door are not considered as emergency doors.
- All seats must have elevated back rests of at least 71 cm high. The distance between seats shall not be less than 64 cm and the size of the seat shall not be less than 40 cm (a single seat) and 90 cm(double seats). Triple-seats are prohibited in school buses.
- All seats must be padded from all sides and made from shock absorbing & fireproof pads.
There must be secure emergency exits on the right, left, back and top sides of the bus, as follows:
a) One exit on each side of the bus plus one roof exit, for buses that accommodate 28 – 50 passengers.
b) Two exits on each side plus two roof exits, for buses that accommodate more than 50 passengers.
c) The isle width shall not be less than 40 cm for buses that accommodate no more than 16 passengers; and 50 cm for buses that accommodate more than 16 passengers.
In addition to the above specifications, all seats of nursery buses must be fitted with triple buckles safety belts.
Responsibilities of Schools and Operators;
In order to advance school transport service to excellent standards in the emirate of Dubai, the following responsibilities shall be assumed by each school principal in the emirate:
- Appoint a qualified individual as a direct bus supervisor, and provide all students› parents with his/her contacts details.
- The direct bus supervisor must map out the routes of the school bus, and get them approved by the school principal.
- Allocate seats to students at the beginning of the academic year in co-operation with the school principal and driver, and ensure that each student has a designated seat for the entire year.
- Provide a means of communication between the driver and the direct supervisor throughout the trip.
- Designate the front seats for boys and back seats for girls. Mixed random seating is forbidden. Gender-separated buses are preferred, if possible.
- Appoint a female conductor for each bus, with exception of male students’ only buses, from class 6 up to the secondary level.
- Oblige the female conductor to attend the prescribed training courses at the Agency.
- Oblige the female conductor to display the ID issued by the Agency, and show it on demand.
- Carry out regular bus maintenance per each 10,000 km maximum, and produce a register & submit supporting documents to the Agency’s inspector.
- Issue drivers with an official uniform, and ensure they maintain personal hygiene, and maintain good conduct before students.
- School buses are allowed to transport passengers other than students, provided that the «School Bus» phrase is removed or covered, and the «School Bus» sign is covered.
- It is prohibited to carry out any maintenance works, repairs or leaving any spare parts or tools of any kind inside the school premises, near school walls or school surroundings.
- Provide the Agency with a proof of maintenance, be it bills, or maintenance contracts with approved auto workshops on demand.
- Obtain a bus operation permit from the bus operators/owners, be it the school or any other entity, amend the bus ownership to reflect a «School Bus» and present the documents to the Licensing Agency’s official.
- Amend all school bus specifications to fit the school bus specifications stated in this Manual.
Responsibilities of School Bus Drivers:
- Use the Electronic Stop Rod when picking up/dropping off students.
- Cover the «School Bus» phrase when using the school bus in any other activity.
- Wear the official uniform while practicing school transport activity, and maintain clean attire.
- Abstain from smoking, eating and drinking while driving.
- Keep the school bus in a clean condition.
- Arrive on time and inform the direct supervisor in case of any delay.
All school bus drivers in the emirate of Dubai shall report to Drivers’ Training and Qualification Department at the Agency, located at Al Aweer Public Bus Station, to obtain a “School Bus Driving Permit” noting that issuing the permit is subject to the following conditions:
a) The driver must hold a UAE driving license, and a permit of the same license category.
b) The driver must have attended and completed the «School Bus driver’s Basic Course».
c) The driver’s age should not be under 25.
d) The driver must be of a good conduct with no history of criminal records.
e) The driver must present the traffic points report issued from the concerned bodies.
f) The driver must have a disease-free certificate, and submit a proof of drug-and alcohol-free status.
g) The driver must be literate in both English and Arabic languages.
h) The driver must pass the theoretical test prepared by the Agency, regarding the subjects covered by the training course.
i) The permit must be associated with the bus operator, which is entitled to submit an application to the Agency for cancellation of driver’s permits upon service termination.
To renew a school bus driving permit after the lapse of one year of issuance, the following conditions shall be observed:
- The driving permit must not have been expired more than a month ago, otherwise a new application shall be submitted.
- The driver must submit a disease-free certificate, together with a proof of drug-and-alcohol-free status.
- The driver must present the black points report, however, the Agency is entitled to accept/reject any application if it deems the driver may pose a risk to students.
- The driver must complete the «School Bus driver›s Course» organized by the Agency, which reproduces in brief the contents of the basic training course.
- The driver must pass the theoretical test prepared by the Agency, regarding the subjects covered by the training course.
Responsibilities of Students and Parents:
Parents and students shall assume the following responsibilities:
- Parents have to deliver their children to the school bus or the assembly point at the specified time. If there is a delay on their part, parents have to deliver their children to the school, without holding the driver accountable.
- Parents should help in training and educating their children on the importance of traffic safety, and how to wait and ride the school bus.
- Parents should notify the school administration of any offence or negligence from the driver.
- The driver may return the students to the school if no one came to collect them upon returning at home, under the responsibility of the parents.
- Students should maintain the bus cleanness and notify the school management or their parents of any offences committed by the driver or students.
- The school principal is solely entitled to deny any student the school transport service if he/she makes one of the following offences:
a) If a student causes the school bus to delay more than three times during the academic year.
b) If a student violates any safety rules or poses danger t others during the bus trip.
c) If a student refuses to ride the bus from the students gathering point agreed upon in advance by the school administration.
d) If a student leaves the school bus before reaching his/her designated drop off point without prior permission.
e) If a student continues to make troubles during bus trips, with more than three cases reported against him/her.
The Agency invites all parents of students to participate in the courses organized by the Agency to educate students and parents on how to use school buses and the importance of school transport.
Responsibilities of Female Bus Conductors;
- Help students boarding/alighting from the school bus.
- Maintain students› safety and usher them to their seats.
- Help students cross the street and ensure they are collected by their families.
- Ensure, at the end of the trip, that the bus is empty and all students have departed the bus, taken their bags, and their personal belongings.
- Quickly deal with emergency cases and contact the concerned parties to take necessary actions.
Conditions for female conductor candidates
Procedures of obtaining School Bus Ownership;
Step 1: Satisfy the school bus specifications as per the Guiding Manual.
Step 2: Report to one of the Licensing Agency’s Offices to submit the “Bus Ownership” application.
Step 3: Produce the bus ownership when requested by inspectors
Procedures of obtaining School Bus Driver Permit;
The following procedures should be followed for obtaining a “school
bus driver” Permit:
Step 1: The applicant must satisfy the following conditions:
a) Must be the holder of a heavy bus driving license.
b) Must be of at least 25 years old.
c) Must be literate in both English and Arabic.
Step 2: Must hold a “No criminal precedents certificate” from Dubai Police.
Step 3: Must obtain the black points report from Dubai Police.
Step 4: Must undergo a medical test and obtain a disease-free certificate, as well as drug-and-alcohol-free status.
Step 5: Documents have to be submitted to Drivers Qualification & Training Department at the Public Transport Agency located at Al
Aweer Station for enrollment in the “School Bus Driver” course.
Procedures of obtaining Female Bus Conductor Permit;
The following steps must be adhered to:
Step 1: The applicant must satisfy the following conditions:
a) Should be at least 25 years old.
b) Should be a holder of at least the General Secondary Certificate or equivalent.
Step 2: Perform a medical test and obtain a medical fitness certificate.
Step 3: Documents have to be submitted to Drivers Qualification & Training Department at the Public Transport Agency located at Al Aweer Station for enrollment in the “School bus driver” course.