Formation of exclusive parent-teacher associations and issues relating to school transport were discussed in Nagapattinam at a special meeting organised by Regional Transport Office with stakeholders concerned recently. The meeting was organised in the light of the new guidelines, Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Special Rules 2012 (for regulation and control of school buses) here for safety of school transport.

Schools are mandated to put in place the supervisory apparatus along with mandated physical setup for school buses. An exclusive PTA would be constituted, headed by the Principal or head master, with parents as its members. The association shall meet once a month, and the minutes of the meeting forwarded to school level transport committees.

Each school level transport committee shall be headed by the Principal or head master and shall include a police official not below the rank of Sub Inspector. This committee shall also include one member from the Education department, Motor Vehicle inspector, and a representative from the PTA.

The committee shall also meet once a month, convened on the same day as the PTA meeting, and its recommendations would be sent to the district inter-departmental committee for further action.

According to the new rules, school buses would be omni buses registered in the name of the school or in the name of the person, who had entered into a lease agreement with the school, and permit issued in the name of the school. The bus shall not be in the name of trust or society running the school.

Drivers engaged would have to possess a valid driving licence, with a minimum of 5 years experience; should not have committed more than two offences in a year such as violation of lane discipline, jumping signals, or accommodating an unauthorised person in the bus.

The driver should have not been booked even once for over speeding, drunken and dangerous driving. The driver should be subjected to annual driving and vision test.

The bus shall also have an attendant not less than 21 years of age and not over 50 years of age. Where the children are girls, a female attendant would be stationed. Further, the attendant shall be medically fit to deboard the bus at each stop to ensure safety of children and shall hand them over to their parents or guardians at the stop.

The guidelines include bag racks fitted with grills, height of the footboad, safe and easy locking system for doors and windows; type and size of windows and safety grills; first aid box, fire extinguisher, and speed governors. The buses would be painted yellow, and host name, address and contact number of the school, contact details of the transport officer, and local police authority. Also, a separate email ID shall be created and displayed for registering complaints.