THE absence of school bus service that came up prominently at an exchange of views of the education minister with head teachers and principals of schools and colleges of the capital city on Wednesday is an important issue to reckon with. The absence of proper school bus services cuts both ways — it adds to the risk of students facing accidents and harassment by and misbehaviour of transport workers; it also adds to the education expenses as the guardians need to spend a lot on the travel, from home to schools and back, of the students. School bus services being in place would also ease congestion on the road, especially when classes begin and when they end, as at that time of the day, the number of vehicles exceeds the road capacity, more so in residential areas having a large number of schools and colleges. The discussion led to a proposal for dedicated public transports for school-goers and a 50 per cent concession for students in public transports. The proposal is logical and calls out the government on implementing it. The schools should introduce bus services. If the schools are not financially able to do this, the government should step in.
The finance minister in his budget speech in June proposed the introduction of school buses to ease traffic congestion and to afford students easy and safe travel. The Road Transport Corporation in 2011 started running 14 buses between Pallabi and Azimpur to ease congestion. The number of buses has, unfortunately, now come down to only two. But the proposal is nothing new. In November 2009, the education ministry and authorities of schools and colleges of the capital city in principle agreed to introduce bus services for students. The prime minister in 2015 also ordered the arrangement for school buses. As school bus services could not effectively be introduced even after all this, the government this time needs to be serious about this so that the sufferings of students, and their guardians, could be mitigated. The arrangement for school bus services in an effective manner could ease the sufferings of school-goers. But this does not resolve the other side of the problem. Citizens as such would still be exposed to harassment by and misbehaviour of transport workers; or even the school and college students at other times of the day would remain vulnerable if the government does not attend to the problem in a holistic approach.
The government, first of all, must make the city transport system a priority agenda to develop it so much that citizens benefit from it. It must streamline the road transport administration, invest more in it and make the system functional. The government must enhance the capability of the Road Transport Corporation by ridding it of corruption and chaos and arming it up with the required human resources as no improvement in the Road Transport Authority would be meaningful unless the Road Trransport Corporation is improved. The government must also force private transport owners to make their workers behave in all times.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Editorial