Things You Should Know
4 January 2009 KHALEEJ TIMES
RTA statistics show that the number of students in government schools is 28,108 in 92schools. Out of this, 63 per cent (17,651) of the students use school buses.
In private schools, 1,36,738 students study in 123 schools. Out of this, only 61 per cent (83, 798) students use school buses. Also, the number of buses in private schools is 1,934, while the number for government schools stand at 235.
The alarming fact is that 1,350 school bus drivers and 1,700 male and female attendants have not received any special training regarding transportation of students. Again, 613 school buses do not have safety belts in them. Around 27 per cent of Dubai schools do not have separate entries and exits for buses. There have been 81 mishaps involving school buses this year causing one death and six injuries.
Important School Bus Regulations
* All school buses have to be yellow in colour with the term ‘School Bus’ written in Arabic and English languages between the bus headlights, uppermost part of the bus, the rear sides and on middle of both sides of the bus. The name of the school or name of the operating company should also be mentioned.
* All buses should have an electronic ‘Stop’ arm on the external side just beneath the drivers’ door. Such an ‘arm’ comes out electronically and includes two red flashers which flash when the bus stops.
* The bus windows should open towards the upper side only and should not consist of any iron or steel bars. The windows should be tinted at 50 per cent.
* There should not be any foldable seats in the buses. The bus passageway should be empty without any obstacles. There should not be hand rests, ashtrays in or behind the seats.
* There should be adequate space for storing the bags. The spaces should be safe and in no way, should bags fall down in case of an emergency. The bus passageways must be covered by a layer of uninflammable and anti-slippery rubber. There must be electronic doors which can be open or closed only by the drivers.
* The maximum speed of the buses must not exceed 80km per hour. There must be a speed controlling system in the same connection.
* Seat belts must be available for all the seats. The buses should have fire extinguishers and first aid kit. The buses must have emergency exits according to the bus capacity with indicators and without any obstacles.
* Who Can be a School Bus Driver
The person should be a holder of a heavy bus driving licence and has to register and attend the training and test. He should be at least 25 years old with no criminal records. He must also submit a health certificate.
* The driver must speak either English or Arabic to pass the theory test conducted by the authority.
* The permit issued to a driver will be valid for one year after which needs to be renewed again. For this, he again has to undertake training and a test.
* The driver must wear a clean uniform and should not be eat or drink during trips.
All schools have to provide transportation for the students. Adequate transportation must also be provided to the handicapped students.
* Schools have to appoint an officer responsible for school buses. His contract details must be with the authority and the parents. Schools must also designate the student’s seat in each bus. The rear seats of the bus must be only for the female students. The front seats will be for males. • Schools must ensure that there is a maintenance schedule for each bus. The schools must also ensure that drivers are send to the training courses.