TNSTC officials claim that crew members have been instructed to halt at all bus stops

Instances of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation buses skipping stops to avoid school students holding free bus passes are common across central districts.

While the TNSTC officials claim that the crew members have been strictly instructed to halt at all bus stops to take in waiting school students, a cross section of the people feel operation of special buses for students during peak hours would be a permanent solution to the perennial problem. “Students in rural areas have to trek long distance to reach their schools. This not only tires them but also makes them inattentive in classes,” say headmasters of some of the government schools in rural parts of the central districts.

This is not a problem confined to rural areas alone. Even at places like Kattur in the city, locals had to force city buses to halt at stops for the convenience of waiting students in the mornings and evenings till a couple of years ago, says Punitha, a housewife. Even now one can daily see school students travelling atop buses in places like Pullambadi, Tirumalapaddi, Pudurpalaiyam villages surrounding Lalgudi. “The government should seriously consider operating special buses exclusively for students particularly in rural areas. This will immensely benefit them,” observes P. V. Devaraj, a former headmaster of government higher secondary school, who had served in several rural schools in Tiruchi and Pudukottai districts.

The government should also consider staggering school timings.

The district authorities should hold regular meetings with heads of schools and local bodies to discuss the steps for solving the problems faced by rural students, Mr. Devaraj adds.

A top official of the Tiruchi division of the TNSTC told The Hindu that the corporation has accorded top priority to address the problems of the student pass holders. The crew members have been instructed to be courteous and polite with students.

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