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Parents in Muscat concerned over safety of children on school buses

Picture for illustrative purpose only)

Muscat - 

Parents of school children being ferried by buses have complained of lack of safety protocols.

They are unhappy over overloading, rash driving and alleged manhandling of children.

A parent requesting anonymity, said, “The bus driver or conductor should queue up the children after classes so that they board the bus in an orderly manner. This rarely happens."

“I have seen children from nursery sections being dragged into these buses. When I questioned a conductor once, I was asked to mind my own business as they were not my children.”

Another parent voiced concern over speeding. “I have noticed several of drivers going beyond the speed limit or trying to overtake other vehicles dangerously. Children are often seen standing in the movng bus, sometimes packed like sardines holding on to each other for balance.”

M S Rajeev, who runs a fleet of around 30 buses to ferry school students expressed his helplessness in tackling the problem.

“Parents regularly complain about driving standards. I tell my drivers to drive safely almost every day. I can only request them and there's nothing much I can do. I can't replace them as there is shortage of good drivers in the city,” he said.

“My drivers do speed sometimes but my buses are not overloaded,” he said, adding, “The school management should arrange transportation for students. In fact, parents should file a complaint with ROP on the issue of speeding school buses.”

Senior officials from a number of schools said that they have asked bus drivers to follow safe driving practices.

“We have had several meeting with drivers to address this issue, and to my knowledge there are no more complaints now,” said an official from Indian School Darsait.

An official from another school said, “We have initiated several measures. Drivers are advised regularly to drive cautiously but cases of overloading should be looked into by higher authorities.”

Muhammad Zakariya Babur, principal, Pakistan School Muscat, said, “Children's transportation is not managed by the school but we regularly interact with parents on road safety issues. It's part of our road safety awareness campaign. We keep hearing complaints from parents that drivers are not cautious or punctual and are generally rude but we can't do much as these buses are managed by private operators.”

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