Parents encourage drivers to carry more kids: Ahmedabad School Van association

On The Edge: City's school van association blames parents for saving money

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Parents encourage drivers to carry more kids: Ahmedabad School Van association
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A day after three students of an international school in Nikol fell off from an overloaded private van ferrying school children, the Ahmedabad School Van Association has put the onus on parents encouraging drivers to carry more children to pay less. While admitting the flaw on the part of drivers, the association president blamed parents to a great extent for not reporting overcrowded auto-rickshaws and vans, despite them having knowledge of the same. Three students on Monday fell from an overcrowded van when the driver took a sudden turn near Ishwar bungalows in Nikol. The driver immediately fled the spot.

Speaking on the issue, Dharmendra Brambhatt, President, Ahmedabad School Van Association said, "We have requested the RTO and the cops to not harass van drivers, who have legal documents and permits. They must take strict action against those who drive illegally and with more number of children."

While I do agree that there are some van drivers, who are at fault as they carry more number of children, I also feel that parents are as much responsible as they are. In most cases, parents are not willing to pay Rs 850 per child. They bargain with the driver and only pay Rs 500; this makes the driver accommodate more children to recover his cost. Even the schools need to be made aware. The moment they see an overcrowded van, they should detain the driver or owner for the act", Brambhatt added.

Taking strong cognisance of the incident, Naresh Shah, President, All Gujarat Parents Association said that the problem can be solved if the van association or the traffic cops issue identity cards to the drivers. "Having a full-time driver these days is a challenge as they charge a lot of money. So, van owners depend on part-time dummy drivers, who are not well-trained, but agree to work for Rs 3,000-4,000 a month. This is where the problem lies. The RTO should issue valid identity cards with a symbol of the van association to keep a check on quality drivers."

Also, the traffic circle inspector should spot such vans and report to the authority concerned, the way they stop four people on a two-wheeler", Shah added.

"I sincerely urge the state government and education minister to provide some kind of subsidy to school van drivers for vehicle insurance so that they can charge parents less. The drivers have to pay Rs 28,000 every year for insurance. This will discourage them to carry more passengers, he said.

When DNA spoke to Gita Solanki, a mother of two residing at Ramdevnagar, she said, "In my case, I work as a cook so it is impossible for me to pick up and drop my children to school. They go in a school van. The van driver accommodates too many children and my daughter always complains, especially in summer. But, the driver does not listen."

Parents should check:

  • Papers of vehicles
  • Permission for carrying school kids
  • Safety measures
  • Number of students being carried
  • Driver's license

Vehicles carrying school children:

  • Number of auto-rickshaws: 6,500
  • Number of vans: 5,500
  • Eeco car: 4 kids
  • Van: 14 kids
  • Auto-rickshaw: 6

On The Radar

  • The Ahmedabad RTO, on Tuesday, conducted a drive to take note of school vehicles that carry more number of children 
  • Officials registered as many as 57 cases against school vehicles 
  • They also collected a total of Rs 1.27 lakh as fine from the drivers
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