School buses cannot be not money-making tools for school management: Government official

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 29, 2019 Published on April 29, 2019

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The economics of road safety plays as much of a role, indicated Sudeep Lakhtakia, Director General, BPR&D

School buses cannot be money-making tools for school management if the safety of children is given top-priority, , said a government official at road safety conference that was organised by Institute of Road Traffic Education here.

Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary-Transport, Road Ministry said that there are schools which have large vacant spaces within its premises offer their own bus services to drop the children after school-hours.

“Children who travel in buses run by other private operators – which charge lower than those those run by the school’s management – have to cross busy roads. This is because the management does not grant parking facilities to those buses within the school’s premises,” he added.

If schools start commercialising the transportation of kids in buses, the safety of these children will be compromised , Damle said. He added, “Protectionism for your school buses has to go. Proactive schools can solve problems and train the drivers of private buses on weekends.”

The economics of road safety plays as much of a role, indicated Sudeep Lakhtakia, Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).

Both Lakhotia and Damle called for better methods and common standards to collect data related to accidents. Lakhotia noted that reasons like road geometry or design, the vehicle’s condition and climate conditions can as much be a reason for accidents, and not only the drivers’ skills.

BPR&D, recently, started a Centre for Traffic in the BPRD Training Institute at Bhopal. This centre looks into multiple policy interventions to bring road safety to the centre of public discourse in the country.

A cue from South Korea

“Private transport also tends to increase the chances of accidents. One of our studies found that most of the students hit were within 100-200 metre distance of school, by vehicles of parents dropping other kids to the school, said Jo Yee Yung Fung,” Chief-Sustainable Transport Section, Transport Division, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific.

Korea Transport Institute's Jae Hoon Sul said that South Korea brought down the school children’s fatalities by 97 per cent through different low and high cost interventions -- spread over almost 20 year period.

The interventions included forming a “mothers group” in each school which pushed policy interventions, which was a low cost intervention. The higher cost interventions included re-designing school zones and buses used for schools.

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Published on April 29, 2019
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