Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will be investing in school transport field through operating world-class buses offering transit services to students of private schools starting from next academic year 2015-2016.
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of RTA, issued an Administrative Order establishing School Transport Department affiliated to Dubai Taxi Corporation.
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of RTA
Tasks of the new department include mapping out annual operation plans, drafting future programmes for school transport activity, contracting with schools in providing students transit services, and operating a bus fleet at the highest quality standards using edge-cutting technologies.
The department comprises three sections- planning and commercial affairs, bus maintenance, and bus operation.
“RTA will start operating 50 buses in the next academic year, and the number is set to rise to 650 buses by 2024,” said Al Tayer.
“Total number of students in Dubai currently is about 253,000, of whom 151,000 students (60 per cent) use school buses, and RTA is seeking to raise this proportion to 70 per cent. School transport is one of the key public transport sectors in the world lifting millions of students every day.
Engaging RTA in this activity aims at providing safe and smooth transport for all students of different ages, and playing a leading role in delivering brilliant, safe and high quality services to students in such a way that encourages parents to allow their children transported by public transit means instead of private vehicles.
It will also support the UAE Education Strategy 2020, raise the bar for school transport, and strike a balance between supply and demand,” he explained.
“The School Transport Department at the Dubai Taxi Corporation will be subjected to the same standards, conditions controls applied to entities operating school transport services.
Thus the practice will abide by Order No. (2) for 2008 regulating school transport in the Emirate of Dubai along with the Executive Regulation of the Order.
It will also comply with the School Transport Manual published by the RTA detailing specifications of school buses in terms of shape, security and safety standards, and respective responsibilities of school managements, entities, supervisors, operators, drivers, students and parents,” he added.
“RTA, represented by Drivers Affairs Department at Public Transport Agency, provides training for school bus drivers and supervisors, and subjects them to theoretical and practical tests before issuing them with permits for practicing their respective professions.
The number of licensed school bus drivers has grown from 5,581 drivers in 2010 to 6,696 drivers in 2012 and soared again to 8,354 drivers in 2014.
The number of bus supervisors leapfrogged from 2,568 drivers in 2010 to 5,000 supervisors in 2012 and 7,579 in 2014,” Al Tayer said.
“The RTA undertakes inspection and monitoring of all school buses in 356 public and private schools and nurseries, and reports offences in case of detecting any violation to the rules during scheduled or surprise site visits.
“The RTA is keen on boosting the safety of the school transport sector through running awareness campaigns, holding regular training workshops, and issuing offence tickets to bus operators in breach of the applicable rules.
About 2,916 offences were reported in 2010, and the number dropped to 2467 offences in 2012 before going up to 3,086 offences in 2014.
As a result of educative, awareness and law-enforcement campaigns, the awareness level of school bus operators has increased; which contributed to slashing the number of school bus accidents following the implementation of regulations from 81 accidents resulting in one fatality and six injuries in 2007 to 10 accidents in 2010, and the plummeted further to five accidents and zero fatality in 2014.