For over 10,000 day scholars in and around Pantheerankavu in the city, the next academic year will be special. In what could be described as a trendsetting initiative, a collective of 36 bus owners from Pantheerankavu has decided to introduce a special travel card enabling the student community to enjoy unlimited travel between their home and school without daily payment. In addition to the existing travel concessions, a bonus reduction too will be granted to the students while issuing the new cards, which will have three-month validity.
The Pantheerankavu Bus Operators’ Collective, which has already won accolades for introducing the city’s first Ladies Only trips and salary system for its entire bus crew, has obtained permission from the authorities concerned to launch the facility, including the district administration, Traffic Police and the Motor Vehicles Department. Under the new scheme, students from seven city schools will get the benefit of the service covering the Mankavu-Pantheerankavu-Manakkadavu-Perumanna route. The school managements and the Parents-Teachers Associations too have welcomed the move.
Leaders of the Collective say the concession cards will be issued to the students in consultation with the educational institutions concerned and based on the school identity cards during the next academic year. They said students not in uniform would not be allowed to avail themselves of the facility as a precaution to avoid misuse and unauthorised exchange of cards.
Similarly, it will not be available for college students in the beginning stage.
N.V. Abdul Sathar, president of the Bus Owners’ Collective, shares that the new project would gift an entirely new experience to the students, their parents and the bus crew.
“This will completely replace a conventional system that forced students to save some coins for their daily commuting. Similarly, the conductors too would enjoy a trouble-free time in the peak hours of traffic,” he adds.
According to the Bus Owners Collective, this is the first time in the State that a group of private bus owners has come together to offer such a new facility for students and streamline it in a more comfortable manner for both the students’ community and bus operators.
At present, the concession card facility, with limited travel options, is available only in some private and aided educational institution buses, they point out.