B. Madhu Gopal

VISAKHAPATNAM: With less than three weeks to go for the re-opening of schools and colleges after the long summer vacation, the managements of educational institutions have to urgently ensure that their buses are fit to transport students. In other words, the buses have to obtain the mandatory ‘Fitness Certificate' (FC).

There are over 900 buses run by educational institutions in the city. Schools and colleges that have their own buses generally ensure that their buses are in good running condition. There are, however, some institutes that fail to conduct periodical inspections to know the roadworthiness of their vehicles as also the condition of the drivers. “Though the last date for obtaining FC is May 31, only 408 buses have gone for FC so far. This year, reflective radium stickers have been made compulsory. The stickers supplied by three companies – Avery, 3 M and Reflective – are authorised by the Transport Department,” says Deputy Transport Commissioner S. Venkateswara Rao.

Driver fitness

The driver of a school bus shouldn't be over 50 years of age, the health of the driver and his vision should be checked every quarter by the management at their cost and a record of the same should be kept in the bus. When appointing the driver care should be taken to ensure that he is not a smoker or alcoholic. The aspirant should have minimum of five years driving experience.

A complaint book should be kept in the vehicle and the students should be encouraged to record their complaints. The vehicle should not be overloaded beyond 25 per cent of the seating capacity. A teacher and a parent representative should accompany the students. The Transport Department is also ready to train the drivers in road safety awareness and traffic rules. The school managements can contact Motor Vehicle Inspector P.V. Gangadhar on 98485 28526.