Only 300 Out of 750 Buses Obtained Fitness Certificates in City Limits
KURNOOL: With the new academic year approaching, the road transport department in Kurnool have launched a special drive to ensure the safety of children who commute by school vehicles.
Nearly 1,220 buses are being used by various schools across the district to transport children to schools and back to their homes. Deputy transport commissioner K Sreedhar emphasized that all buses must obtain fitness certificates under provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 before the reopening of schools.
The erstwhile Kurnool district hosts 4,389 schools, including 2,966 government and 1,423 private schools. Of these, 1,017 are high schools, comprising 612 government schools and 405 private schools. The student population spans approximately 6.80 lakh, encompassing those studying from Class 1 to class 10, with around 4.80 lakh attending government schools and nearly 2 lakh enrolled in private schools.
While some students use SETWIN buses, others rely on auto-rickshaws for their daily commute.
However, out of the 1,220 buses in the district, around 750 school and college buses in Kurnool city are required to undergo the fitness process conducted by the transport department. Nearly 2,500 auto-rickshaws in the district transport children without adhering to the prescribed norms.
According to the Motor Vehicle Act, school managements are obligated to maintain various certificates such as fitness, permit etc. They must ensure the renewal of colours, seats, lighting and overall condition of the buses before the commencement of each academic year.
Further, buses used by schools should be less than 15 years old the drivers should have a minimum of five years’ experience. They must be between age 40 and 55, and always be accompanied by an attendant. Provisions such as school bag storage under the seats, a first aid box, windows with horizontal grills, emergency exits and fire extinguishing equipment are mandatory.
The road transport department stresses that the bus body should prominently display the school's name and telephone numbers. It must feature route details, driver information and attendant details on the inner side. Speed governors are mandatory and standing journeys and overcapacity should be avoided.
School managements should conduct meetings with parents, bus drivers and children to address transportation-related concerns such as the behaviour of driver and attendant, over-speeding and rash driving. School buses should prominently display 'On School Duty' signs at the rear and front of the vehicles.
Deputy transport commissioner Sridhar warned that stringent action would be taken against school managements that fail to comply with the rules. He said only 300 buses in Kurnool and 50 buses in Adoni obtained fitness certificates till now.