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5 months ago

RTO Kashmir issues guidelines for permit conditions for school transport safety

Srinagar: The Regional Transport Officer Kashmir has laid down a series of permit conditions in line with AIS-063 standards and Supreme Court guidelines, stating that the measures are designed to ensure safety standards for students commuting to and from school.

In a letter addressed to all heads and transport managers of schools, a copy of which also lies with KNO, the RTO has outlined a series of permit conditions that school buses and hired transport must adhere to.

For the seating arrangements, the letter states that all seats, except those facing the passenger step well, must be forward-facing and that a partition is required for seats facing the step well. Additionally, the number of children onboard should not exceed 1.5 times the permitted seating capacity for children under 12 years old.

Under essential facilities, the letter has stated to include a first aid box, a water filter, and two ISI-marked ABC type Fire Extinguishers-one positioned at the front and the other at the rear of the bus.

For documentation, it has asked that vehicles must possess up-to-date permits, fitness certificates, insurance certificates, valid Token tax receipts, PUCC, SLD certificate, DL, and GPS certificate.

For driver’s qualifications, the letter states that drivers must have a minimum of 5 years of experience driving Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) and should carry a complete list of children along with a copy of the agreement with the school.

Highlighting the driver’s responsibilities, it has stated that the drivers with repeated violations such as red light jumping, lane discipline violations, or allowing unauthorized persons to drive should not be employed.

“Any driver caught over speeding, driving under the influence, or engaging in dangerous driving should also be disqualified from employment”, reads the letter.

For vehicle appearance, it has stated that the school buses should be painted yellow with ‘SCHOOL BUS’ clearly marked on the front and back. The school’s name, telephone number, and ‘On School Duty’ (if hired) should be clearly displayed.

Highlighting the safety features, the letter has mentioned that the doors should have reliable locks, and windows should be fitted with horizontal grills to ensure child safety, and that for the speed control buses must be equipped with a speed governor set to a maximum speed limit of 40 kmph.

For bag space, it has asked for sufficient space must be provided under seats to store school bags securely, prohibiting bags from being hung outside the vehicle or placed on roof carriers.

For the attendant requirement, the letter states that a qualified attendant should be present on the bus to supervise children during transit and while boarding and disembarking and for the school drop protocol the letter adds that in the event that a kindergarten child is not picked up by an authorized person at designated halting points, the child must be safely returned to school, and parents should be notified.

While for the transport manager, the letter has stated that the contact details of the Transport Manager responsible for ensuring safe transportation of school children must be prominently displayed inside and outside the bus.

“The schools heads are advised not to own/hire any such transport service which does not have a valid permit or do not fulfill the requisite permit conditions/guidelines and any violations of these conditions would invite stern action against the defaulters or violators”, reads the letter.

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