Ghaziabad RTO has asked the owners of the 162 faulty school buses that failed safety tests to rectify the problems detected in their vehicles.
Ghaziabad Road Transport Office (RTO) has identified 37 school buses that failed to meet the norms set by the transport department to run the services. Along with the 37 buses caught in the second phase, a total of 162 school buses were found to be flouting norms and their owners were served with notices to rectify the problems detected in the vehicles.
According to RTO officials, 1020 buses turned up for inspection during the two phases of the drive while another 200 buses did not appear for the mandatory inspection despite notices issued to their owners.
The buses were checked on the basis of a 11-point list of norms derived from the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India. Notices have been issued to operators and owners of the vehicles which failed to comply with the guidelines.
Officials said that the inspection was conducted before the beginning of the academic session to avoid inconvenience to parents, children and the schools. “Owners of school buses which failed to follow the norms have been asked to rectify the problems and get the vehicles re-inspected. If the vehicles are unable to come to RTO, they would be inspected at schools on the roads,” said Rakendra Singh, Assistant Road Transport Officer(enforcement) of Ghaziabad.
However, there is a twist in the RTO’s tale.
Parents association of Ghaziabad called the entire inspection drive of the RTO a sham.
“The yellow buses which are designated for school use are only a fraction of the number of buses actually used for ferrying students. Most of the buses are regular transport buses which are hired by schools from third-party agencies. Those buses are neither registered with the RTO as school buses nor do they follow regulations. In case of a mishap the schools shift the blame on the third-party bus service providers,” said Sachin Soni, secretary of All School Parents Association, Ghaziabad.
Soni further said the inspections, instead of being conducting at such large scale should be conducted at the schools to detect the faults.
“Inspection while picking up and dropping of students at the school premises will reveal the reality. Not only unregulated buses, the schools also use vans and cabs which are illegal. I have also written to the state transport minister in this regard,” Soni further said.
There are 11 points for checking school buses:
1. Whether the words ‘School Bus’ are clearly written on the bus or not.
2. Whether the school's name and phone number have been written on the body of the bus.
3. Whether there is a horizontal grill or net on the bus's windows.
4. Whether or not a foot board has been installed on the door for children to climb in and out.
5. Whether there is space underneath seats for storing school bags.
6. Whether there fire extinguishers in the bus.
7. Whether there is first aid box in the school bus.
8. Whether the speed governor or speed limiter is installed the bus.
9. Emergency exit is installed.
10. Has a pressure horns installed or not.
11. Other guidelines which include various issues like color, cleanliness, pollution clearance, vehicle papers etc.
Forty six out of five hundred and six buses had failed in a similar inspection drive conducted in Greater Noida on Saturday