The direction given to schools affiliated to the state government that they should use only Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses for schools trips has not gone down well with school managements.
They complain that most of these buses have no first aid kit and the transport department does not even provide spare drivers and conductor for the school trips. Quite often, the condition of these buses is poor, they added.
They have now decided to approach the authorities concerned, both at transport and education department, and submit a representation requesting withdrawal of the order.
“We had many bad experiences with government buses. Once we had planned a four-day trip to Tamil Nadu, but we had to repair the bus at least three times. That consumed at least four hours of our entire trip schedule,” complained D Shashikumar, secretary, Blossoms School, Bangalore and secretary of the Karnataka State Unaided Schools Management Federation.
A management representative from Sarvodaya School, Hassan, said, “Last year we had gone on a two-day trip to Hampi. The tyre got punctured twice and there was no spare tyre available. Because of this, we had to wait for more than two hours and that too late at night.”
In another case, the students of a city-based school were hurt when sudden brakes were applied and there was no first-aid kit in the vehicle. “The time was around 3am and the driver braked suddenly. Some students and teachers were injured in the incident. But there was no first aid kit available,” said the head master of the school.
“We have decided to meet the concerned authorities and request them to withdraw the order,” Shashikumar said.
As per the government order, the buses must be available 24 hours, but most depot managers refuse to provide buses early in the morning . “If we have to travel to Kerala and plan to leave the city by 4am and communicate the same to the officials concerned, we will get the bus only by 6am,” Shashikumar said.
Even the fare collected by transport department is higher than those charged by private transport agencies. Private travel agencies charge Rs27 per km, but KSRTC and BMTC charge Rs30 per km.