Schools set to reopen but bus operators have concerns

As a result of school buses not operating for nine months now, operators have stated that they are likely to bear losses before restarting operations.

Schools set to reopen but bus operators have concerns

In recent developments, school bus owners in Mumbai have raised several concerns with regards to resuming services even if schools are permitted to resume classes from January 2021.

On Monday, December 21, the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) informed that while some schools in the city are gearing up to open from the month of January, even if the government grants them permission to start Classes 9 and 10, bus owners are going to find it hard to start operations. As school buses are not ferrying students for nine months now, operators stated they would have to bear a lot of losses before restarting operations.

The association of private bus owners had earlier petitioned the government, asking it to permit private and school buses to operate as 'public transport' vehicles in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The association stated that with more buses on roads, BEST, MSRTC, private and school buses, it will only strengthen public transport. In addition, this will reduce congestion of private vehicles and stop people from bringing cars and bikes on roads which would lead to a decline in traffic.

The state government had decided to resume school from November 23, 2020, after eight long months, however, schools in Mumbai, Pune City, Aurangabad City, Nashik, Pimpri Chinchwad is to remain closed for now. Although schools remain closed in the cities, in the rural areas of Pune, Aurangabad, as well as in Latur, Osmanabad, schools have resumed operations.

In the past, on November 20, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal informed that schools in Mumbai are to remain closed till December 31, 2020. This development came days after the Delhi government announced all schools to remain shut in view of the COVID-19 situation. However, schools in other parts of Maharashtra reopened on November 23, as directed by the state government.

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