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Old 19th June 2012, 19:58   #151
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Default Re: School Commute - Are Children really safe?

The way I see it,

- The parents are largely responsible for the safety of their kids and have to think of options before they enrol their kid in a particular school. We choose the school, we choose the distance the kid has to travel every day, and we choose how the kid will go to school everyday. It's not unusual to know that some kids travel around an hour to get to school one way just because the parents think that school is the "best".
- The school is responsible for ensuring that they have a good transport vendor that meets the designated RTO criteria. There should be thorough background checks done for all personnel involved in their bus operations. There should be regular audits done by the school authorities on these buses by following them on a certain route etc, the PTA meeting should encourage parents to voice concerns over the transport system.
- The RTO/traffic authorities are responsible for blatantly allowing (or neglecting) violations in mass transportation systems in our country. A bus or a rickshaw has a stated capacity signed off by the RTO and anything over that should not be allowed. But how many times do we see anyone being pulled over for this. Triple seats on a bike is a norm, overfilled rickshaws with children are a common sight, school buses jumping medians and signals is not very rare too. All that the traffic cops are interested is making quick money on cases of some missing documents or the latest buzz on sunfilms.

The reason why we have these violations are because the system allows for it and because we want the "best and cheapest" deal for everything in our lives. This is what drives the service providers to over-rationalize their offerings to win over competition and still make money. Why pay more when the work can get done cheaper even though it may be a wee-bit riskier is the common theme everywhere in India!

My daughter started school this year and it's hardly 7kms from home, but for the fear of the unknown, I chose against the school bus. May be when she's a little older and can manage herself I may try it out and see how it works. Besides, it's hardly a 25-30 min round-trip to her school and it's a great way to bond with her through the way. And for what it's worth, I decided against selling my bike and have started using it more often since I found a baby sized helmet for her. That way we both enjoy the routine everyday!
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Old 19th June 2012, 20:36   #152
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Default Re: Standard of Living

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Here is a pic of an American school bus. Its not optional..all schools must use similar design. As soon as the bus stops, a couple of stop signs swing out and red lights flash. All traffic front and behind comes to a stop as long as the lights are flashing. A retractrable bar swings out in front of the bus till its ready to move. This is so that in the event that a car fails to stop and comes flying past and a kid tries to cross the road in font of the bus (kid cannot see the car because of the bus), it will prevent the kid fron crossing. Also, by law all school buses have to stop in front of any railroad crossing (even when the gate is open), open and close their doors and then start moving.
Do the school buses in the US (or EU or other countries) have seat belts ? I checked with my friends living in various countries, but found that none of the school buses had seat-belts. Why is this ? Won't it be more safe for the kids, especially the younger ones if they are belted in ?

My son started school last year and we enrolled him in the school-bus service which is pretty good - buses painted as per regulation, safe drivers, an attendant to man the door and to help the smaller kids in/out of the bus - basically as close to ideal as possible. But then one day, the driver had to brake hard suddenly due to some unexpected reason and my son's head hit the front seat. Was not serious, but he had a swelling on the forehead. And that was how my thought turned to seat-belts in buses and about how this type of accidents could be averted. But was surprised to know that school-buses worldwide don't seem to have seat-belts. Why is that ?
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Old 19th June 2012, 20:50   #153
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Default Re: Standard of Living

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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Do the school buses in the US (or EU or other countries) have seat belts ? I checked with my friends living in various countries, but found that none of the school buses had seat-belts. Why is this ? Won't it be more safe for the kids, especially the younger ones if they are belted in ?
Atleast in the US they dont. What mpower said is true . The drama unfolds as early as 7:30am in the morning when the bus comes to pick up the kids. Kids line up and the bus has a stop sign and they flash those red lights.

My uncles daughter is in her 1st grade and it's kinda cute to see the way these kids take the bus. They fall in line and don't crowd at the bus door.For a fact while in NY last year I saw fellow motorists waiting behind the bus and not overtaking it. Most folks were waiting for the kids to board the bus and only after the bus moved did they follow. This was in Mineola a quite neighbor-hood in NY.

Last edited by rjstyles69 : 19th June 2012 at 20:56.
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Old 19th June 2012, 20:52   #154
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Default Re: Auto Driver says "You people don't know!"

@SB. They don't unfortunately. I know because I've traveled in them many times. These buses are usually rented out in the weekends/summers and used for charters/ parking shuttles at events.

Actually none of the buses have seatbelts.

Reason is probably because 1. its hard to enforce, and 2.the fatality rate in bus accidents (front end collision) is pretty low. Seems like that is the primary motivator. Most bus fatalities occur when it falls off a ravine or overturns.
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Old 19th June 2012, 20:59   #155
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Default Re: Standard of Living

Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Do the school buses in the US (or EU or other countries) have seat belts ? I checked with my friends living in various countries, but found that none of the school buses had seat-belts. Why is this ? Won't it be more safe for the kids, especially the younger ones if they are belted in ?
Small school buses in US are required by law to have lap belts.

Many states in US, for example California and Texas require 3 point belts on all new school buses. Some other states, like Florida, require seat belt or other restraining systems.

Besides that, the larger school buses are built in such a way to provide a cucoon sort of cushioning by tightly spacing the seats and covering the seats with at least 4 inch thick foam.

Here is a link, that opens with a heart wrenching story:
Why your child's school bus has no seat belts - US news - Life - msnbc.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
But then one day, the driver had to brake hard suddenly due to some unexpected reason and my son's head hit the front seat.
I am guessing the front seat had no cushioning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Most folks were waiting for the kids to board the bus and only after the bus moved did they follow. This was in Mineola a quite neighbor-hood in NY.
That's because its the law. If the school bus stops on an undivided road, traffic from both sides must come to a halt at least 25 feet from the bus. I know because I am going to apply for NH license this week!!

Last edited by amitoj : 19th June 2012 at 21:03.
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Old 19th June 2012, 20:59   #156
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Default Re: Standard of Living

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
For a fact while in NY last year I saw fellow motorists waiting behind the bus and not overtaking it. Most folks were waiting for the kids to board the bus and only after the bus moved did they follow.
It is a violation to move past a school bus when kids are alighting / boarding. The exception is if you are on the other side of a divided road. But if there is no physical barrier between the two sides, then you can not drive past even if you are driving in the opposite direction. You can move
only when the lights on the bus stop flashing.

Uniform rule across US.
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Old 19th June 2012, 21:07   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amitoj
I am guessing the front seat had no cushioning?
Yes, unfortunately no cushioning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyBoy
Supreme Court guidelines
• ‘School Bus' must be prominently written/displayed on the front and back of every vehicle carrying school children
• If the vehicle is a hired bus, ‘On school duty' should be prominently displayed
• No bus belonging to an educational institution should carry children in excess of its permitted seating capacity
• School bus must have a first aid box
• Windows of the school bus must be fitted with horizontal grills/bars
• Every school bus needs to be equipped with fire extinguisher
• Every driver of a school bus must have a minimum of five years of experience in driving heavy vehicles and must not have any previous record of traffic offences
• In addition to driver, there must be a qualified person in every school bus as provided in Rule 17 of Motor Vehicles Rules
• There should be an escort from the school, preferably a teacher, in the bus to ensure safety
My son started school a year ago and commutes by school-bus and they run a good & safe transportation system. Except for the first-aid box and fire-extinguisher which I did not really check for, the other points are taken care of. The drivers are safe in driving, the attendant is helpful not only in helping the younger kids in/out of the bus, but also leads the younger kids from the bus to their classes and in the evening from the class to the bus.

BTW, Rajan, should this thread not be merged with http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...dont-know.html where we had similar discussions ?

Last edited by GTO : 21st June 2012 at 16:18. Reason: Merging both your posts.
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Old 19th June 2012, 21:45   #158
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Default Re: School Commute - Are Children really safe?

All -

I personally feel the title of thread is really scary.

Is there a safe Public transport (School-bus / Auto / Vans) that take care of children safety? I mean, other than self-drive option, is there any other safe-way to facilitate children travelling to school ?

A School Bus initially accepts capacity only upto the number of seats, but slowly over a period of time, they overload the bus. We do not have control on that. Private Vans and Rickshaws are so careless in driving and overload.

Other than self-drive I do not see any option. Maybe we can do a car-pool and parent of each kid takes turn in driving kids to school.

Last edited by scopriobharath : 19th June 2012 at 21:58.
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Old 19th June 2012, 22:06   #159
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Default Re: School Commute - Are Children really safe?

All of a sudden boarding school, sounds like a good option! :-)

Also, choosing a school near your residence, makes sense.

Study from home (like work from home) would be another solution, but not possible yet. So excuse my PJ.

And I agree, parents should take 100% responsibility of any negligence towards safety of their progeny.
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Old 20th June 2012, 11:45   #160
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Default Re: School Commute - Are Children really safe?

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Originally Posted by Guna View Post
My daughter's school (fairly reputed and collects good money as fees/donation) doesn't employ school buses. Their explanation is that they are not a transport company and they don't understand/cope with the issues of managing buses.
Atleast they are not taking the money and giving sub standard service, in that aspect i would say they are good.

There are numerous schools who use this logic to get away from problems with rash driving, badly maintained school buses, things broken inside the bus causing scratches to kids, and when finally something happens they raise their hand and say we cannot help it as we do not own these buses.

Its the most idiotic reasons that i have ever heard of, if they cannot provide quality and safe service then they should not be charging and giving this service in the first place.
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Old 20th June 2012, 11:54   #161
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Default Re: School Commute - Options for safe travel of children

There was a news article recently about a school in Hyderabad that promoted car pooling for its students. The idea was that the school which has the repository of all the addresses of its students, sent out mails to parents about other children of the same school who live nearby, so that parents could contact each other and take turns in car-pooling kids. They also encouraged those parents who used to drop their children regularly to pick up the other kids who live nearby. The article claims that it is a good success and many parents found it advantageous to take turns in dropping the kids to school.

This sounds like a good idea. A good alternate to costlier and dangerous commutes by auto/van/bus/omnis.
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Old 20th June 2012, 13:11   #162
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Default Re: School Commute - Options for safe travel of children

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Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
Other than self-drive I do not see any option. Maybe we can do a car-pool and parent of each kid takes turn in driving kids to school.
This is a good option provided there is understanding and trust among the members of the car pool. I mean the parents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Atleast they are not taking the money and giving sub standard service, in that aspect i would say they are good.
I disagree. The problem is nobody wants to take ownership. Looking at kids packed like sardines in an auto or Omni that is going up the wrong side of a road with high beams on, I think its better to have them travel in school owned buses. At least the responsibility can be pinned onto a particular authority.

In case of my son's school, they own the buses and operate them. These buses are equipped with seatbelts and the attendant ensures that kids put them on. Rash driving is discouraged and any reports are dealt with seriously at the school itself. Parents are discouraged from conversing with the drivers and instead report issues to the transport manager at school. Maybe they charge more than what an outside operator would, but I am glad to pay the extra amount considering the added safety.

It does not take too much effort to implement this. And we parents need to lobby for the safety of our kids at the school level. We dont need a law to tell us that safety is important. The law is meant to ensure implementation of rules, and going by the scene on todays roads, there is no point in having a law which will not be implemented. How many cops do you see on the roads at 8am anyway? Lets try to work at the micro level where we see actual results.

Last edited by selfdrive : 20th June 2012 at 13:12.
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Old 20th June 2012, 14:07   #163
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Default Re: School Commute - Options for safe travel of children

My 4yr old just started LKG. Although we could opt for the school bus service, we didn't since the bus does not drop the child at the residence but instead at a common drop point. Since both of us work it's not possible for anyone to pick him up from there. So we were left with the only option of going for private bus transport.
Gladly, I found the perfect solution, it's a middle aged husband & wife team, they drive an Omni van, they take only 4 children per van (I confirmed that today). The only flipside is that they charge 1k a month which is a bit higher than normal charges, but atleast they are reliable & they drop my kid at home.
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Old 20th June 2012, 14:18   #164
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Default Re: School Commute - Options for safe travel of children

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive
In case of my son's school, they own the buses and operate them. These buses are equipped with seatbelts
They have seatbelts ? That is awesome. More so because even school-buses in developed countries don't seem to have seat-belts.
What bus (make / model) is that ? And what kind of belt is provided ?
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Old 20th June 2012, 14:32   #165
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Default Re: School Commute - Options for safe travel of children

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Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
My uncles daughter is in her 1st grade and it's kinda cute to see the way these kids take the bus. They fall in line and don't crowd at the bus door.
I don't know about how this discipline is developed there in US, but in Canada my cousin's kid was given 2 days training on how to board the bus, etc, etc by the school authorities before being allowed to travel by the bus. This lesson stays with them forever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
The problem is nobody wants to take ownership.
You can't blame the school for this. Once a school gets a 'good name' parents from all over the city want their child to study there. How many buses will the school have to operate, if they are to cover many parts of a city? To overcome this problem one of the 'good' schools in Chennai started to give admissions only for kids within a 2 km radius. You know what some parents did. They took a house for rent in that locality just for the 'rental agreement' and once they got admission, let go of that house.

Last edited by Daewood : 20th June 2012 at 14:33.
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