As some of the schools have reopened, a debate has come to the forefront yet again. The sight of autorickshaw drivers carrying school children more than they can accommodate, will be common. Making brisk business, the autorickshaw drivers risk the safety of the children, blatantly flouting rules.
This brings us to question, shouldn’t schools provide a bus service so that the children aren’t exposed to such a dangerous environment? “Even if schools provide a bus service, the costs are high. The school has to pay the driver and for the fuel. The costs to cover this can be high and for parents who have more than one child studying in the school, it can be expensive. Under such circumstances, they find sending their children in an auto cheaper. Having said that, if the APSRTC comes up with a special school bus, then it will help tremendously as not many schools can afford to have a bus service,” said Ayesha Rubina, director, Genesis School.
“Most of the government schools don’t provide transport facilities to the kids and the only option left with parents is either autos or private cabs. Parents need to be careful while selecting the proper mode of transport for their children. Even the traffic department needs to keep a eye on the errant auto drivers who should be punished for rash driving,” said, Sadhana Thakur, a government school principal.
In addition to autorickshaws, matador vans and omni-vans are also hired by many parents in the City. The main reason behind this is that many schools do not ply their vehicles in all the areas of the City. Even if some schools do, some parents opt for private services because of the high cost levied for these services by the school management for using transport.
M Laxmi, who sends her daughter Keerti to a school in Marredpally in a private auto, says she has no other option as the school vans did not cover their locality. “We are left at the mercy of these auto drivers who do not follow the traffic rules or ensure that they will make sure the kids reach safely to school. The children are literally squashed in the vehicle.
Even after paying huge amounts the safety part goes for a toss. Either the schools should reduce the transport fees and provide services in almost every part of the City or the traffic police should start a drive against these auto drivers,” she opines.
PVS Ramakrishna, DCP traffic-I, from Hyderabad Traffic Police says, “We are planning to start a drive against overcrowded school autos. In a day or two, we will come up with special campaign. However, we can’t force any school managements to provide compulsory transport facilities to the kids or start any new routes.” He also thanked Postnoon for bringing this issue and promised to start a drive against auto drivers before all schools reopened on June 14.