The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai has made changes to the existing School Transport Law in Dubai and assigned specific responsibilities to schools and the bus operators in order to enhance student safety.
The amendments, which also cover technical changes, will be enforced with effect from September 1, 2012, and specify the level of window tinting allowed on school buses (not more than 30 per cent) with the possibility of opening the window up to 10cm only (whether from top or sideways), and forbids the use of curtains inside the bus.
Among the school’s responsibilities is a mandate that all schools need to assign a direct bus transport supervisor, whose contact details will have to be made available to the students’ parents.
In addition, it will be the school’s obligation to ensure that each student is allocated a seat, and that all bus routes are approved by the school principal.
School transport operators, on their behalf, need to ensure that a female conductor is appointed for each bus (with exception of male students’ buses from class 6 up to the secondary level), obligate the female conductor to attend the prescribed training courses, and ensure that the female conductor displays, at all times, the ID issued by the entity.
Among other technical changes, the school bus will be restricted to a top speed of 80kmph, with a speed control device installed conforming to the specifications and conditions specified by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology.
The Public Transport Agency, RTA, called upon schools administrations in Dubai to abide by the provisions of the School Transport Law to ensure the safety and security of students of all age groups in keeping with RTA's vision of providing safe and smooth transport for all.
Meanwhile and in order to optimise the application of the School Transport Law, the work teams from Franchising & Enforcement Department, Public Transport Agency reported that 1,887 offences of different types were reported against 224 schools (78 public and 146 private schools) as they were found in breach of the provisions of School Transport Law in Dubai. Offences were reported following an inspection campaign carried out by the teams of the Department in 2011, while in January this year, 387 offences were issued against 63 schools.
Furat Ali Al Aamri, Director of Franchising & Enforcement, Public Transport Agency, said that offences issued by the Agency were due to the non-compliance on the part of school bus drivers with the rules stipulated in the School Transport Law applicable in Dubai issued in 2008. Such offences gave rise to a state of chaos and indifference by school administrations, school transport operators and school bus drivers.
"Offences made are restricted to 11 out of 13 articles led by buses non-compliant with the exterior bus specifications (514 offences), followed by offences of unlicensed school bus drivers, or a driver with expired permit (350 offences), offending the safety specifications (326 offences), schools and bus operators flouting laws prescribed in the Order & its Executive Regulation (236 offences), failure to operate the school bus electronic rod while picking up/dropping off students (222 offences), offences related to the interior bus specifications and safety standards (76 offences), failure to remove/cover the "School Bus" plate when operating the bus in other than school transport activities (62 offences), operating the school buses without permits (39 offences), drivers flouting their responsibilities as provided for in the Order or its Executive Regulation (30 offences), offences pertaining to failure of exhibiting the school bus permit in the designated place (19 offences), and driving school buses with expired permit (13 offences)," elaborated the Director of Franchising & Enforcement.
However, 2 articles remain unbroken, they are: failing to show the driver's permit to the law enforcement officer, and operating the electronic stoppage rod when using the school bus in other than school transport activities. The Director of Franchising and Enforcement stressed RTA's keen interest and relentless endeavours to follow up the application of School Transport Law by schools, school transport operators, and school bus drivers as this sector plays an important and decisive role in the life of a broad spectrum of students of different age groups.