All school buses and school vans in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad will have to undergo a safety inspection at the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Pune, which has launched a ‘re-inspection drive’ from June 2 to 18. The ‘re-inspection’ is compulsory for all vehicles, including those with valid fitness certificates. Vehicles that have recently undergone a fitness test or were bought on or after April 1, 2018, are exempt from the inspection.
As part of the drive, about 3,700 school buses registered with Pune RTO will undergo re-inspection between June 2 and 18 at Alandi facility of RTO, Pune.
The decision was taken following the directives of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court regarding safety of children travelling in school buses, vans and autorickshaws.
The school bus transport rules, which came into effect in March 2011, stipulate various regulations on school buses, operators, transport department and school authorities. The rules apply to all vehicles with a seating capacity of more than 12 but do not apply to autorickshaws engaged in ferrying schoolchildren.
“The directives were passed by the High Court in a 2012 case, which has asked RTO officials to make sure that the vehicles involved in transporting schoolchildren follow the rules and regulations issued from time to time. To ensure 100 per cent adherence to the rules, such as installation of speed governor, fire extinguisher, GPS system and driver’s licence, etc. We will inspect all the school buses registered with us. Only new buses bought after April 1 and those, which have obtained a fitness certificate post that date, will be exempt,” said Sanjay Raut, Deputy Regional Transport Officer.
Raut added that to finish re-inspection of all the vehicles, it has been decided that the Alandi testing centre will work on holidays too.
“If a vehicle fails any test or there are lacunae, we will give it the opportunity to fix them,” said Raut.
Officials said re-inspection was mandatory for both private and school-owned buses, adding that those failing to abide by the rules will not be allowed to operate on city roads.
Raut added that in case there are more than 25 buses at one place, a motor inspector will be appointed to visit the site and inspect the buses there itself.
“The process will be totally free of cost. Vehicle that fulfil school transport rules and regulations will be provided a certificate,” said Raut.
The Pune School Bus Association said although the move was an unnecessary hassle as the vehicles have to renew fitness certificates every year, the association will not oppose the move as it involves the safety of children.
“The directives have come from the High Court. So let them do it, though we feel it’s unncecessary. We are not opposing it since it’s for the safety of children…,” said Rajan Junawane of the association.