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22 April 2024

No more ‘coffin on wheels’ for Dubai's school kids

By Sneha May Francis and Majorie van Leijen

Just a week after Emirates 24|7 reported about Dubai Police’s insistence on banning minibus to transport school kids, two major private transport companies, which provide for most schools in the emirate, have announced their decision to ban their use from September this year.

The announcement was made through a newspaper advertisement.

“To support the decision of Dubai Police and RTA (Road Transport Authority) to ban mini buses from transporting students, School Transport Services LLC (STS) and Bright Bus Transport will not be using the mini bus effective 1st September 2013,” stated the ad.

Issued by the STS, the advertisement was headlined; "STS says 'no' to mini-vans!!"

Branded ‘coffin on wheels’, the Dubai police had expressed concern over the safety of the passengers travelling in these vehicles.

At the moment, many Dubai schools and nurseries use minibus, which are either provided by the STS or Bright Bus transports.

The Dubai Police had supported their argument with alarming statistics stating that in 2012, 11% of all fatalities on the road involved a minibus. Fifteen died in accidents involving mini-buses.

“When the bus is driven at a high speed and goes into a curve, the bus could easily collapse. The bus should ideally be driven at a maximum speed of 80km/h, and without passengers,” director of traffic police Major General Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen had warned.

Currently, minibuses are allowed to be driven at a speed of 100km/h.

Another hazard is the limited space for passengers inside the bus.

“If an accident occurs, there is not a lot of space for passengers to move out, and this applies to 15-seat buses as well as 9 seat buses,” commented Al Zafeen.

“Minibuses are not safe for transportation of any human beings. It should be used only for the transport of goods. That is our advice to the public.”

Even the RTA is conducting a study to look into a ban on minibuses for school transportation.

“We see that many private schools are hiring minibuses for the transportation of their pupils.

“It is a cheap means of transportation. But we do not want this to become a habit,” said Youssef al Ali, Director of the Public Transport Agency of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).



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