The deputy regional transport office (RTO) Vashi swung into action after a school bus allegedly caught fire because of short-circuit in Andheri last Saturday. It has detained six school buses and fined the owners of 33 buses for neglecting safety norms. The RTO has also collected a total fine of Rs28,800 from the bus owners.
In the week-long drive against school bus operators for neglecting safety norms, which began on Monday, the special squad of dy RTO Vashi carried out surprise checks of school buses across the city.
“We have grilled 39 school bus drivers for violating safety of which six were detained,” said Sanjay Dhaygude, dy RTO Vashi.
The six buses have been detained for not having a fitness certificates, valid permits and for incomplete documents and mechanical faults. It was also found that many school buses did not have the speed governor, which is mandatory as per the norms.
Dy RTO has seized documents of around 33 buses which lacked fire extinguishers, window grills and absence of female attendant. “They have been fined and memos have been issued. They now have to rectify the defects,” he added.
The crackdown comes after the traffic commissioner, Mumbai, ordered all RTOs to check whether bus owners have been maintaining school bus safety standards.
Dy RTO has also collected Rs17,846 tax amount from a bus owner which was pending for long.
“A total eight cases have been disposed off after the owners paid a fine and corrected the safety norms required in school bus,” said Dhaygude.
He added that during the scrutiny of the buses we found that tax of one of the buses was not deposited, which has not been collected.
Last Saturday, 10 kindergarten students travelling in a school bus had a narrow escape when their bus caught fire in Andheri.
A major tragedy was averted after the driver of the bus, immediately parked the bus on the side of the road the moment he noticed smoke coming from the engine and evacuated the children with the help of shopkeepers. Later, the bus burst into flames and was completely gutted.