Chandigarh schools pass security costs on to parents

Parents in Chandigarh will now have to shell out Rs 200 extra per month for school bus fee as majority of the vehicles have installed CCTV cameras and GPS system.

The new bus fee was implemented from August 1. The bus fee will vary from Rs 950 to Rs 1,850 per month with an increase of Rs 200. The bus operators are charging Rs 750-Rs1,650 depending on the routes, as compared to last year when the charges varied from Rs 600 to Rs 1,500. In April, 2014, the SBOA had increased the bus fee by 21 per cent.

The School Bus Owners’ Welfare Association has decided to hike the bus fee claiming that they will have to pay extra cost for maintenance to private companies that have installed the cameras and GPS system. President of the SBOA, Manjit Singh Saini, said, “The hike is reasonable, it should not bother the parents since we have spent over Rs 10,000 on each of the buses to install the cameras and GPS. Parents should know that this system has been implemented for the safety of their children. So, paying Rs 200 extra for their children’s safety is not a big deal.”

Since most of the schools buses operate on contract, it was the responsibility of the private contractor to hire lady attendants for the buses. The contractor, therefore, will only pay the salary of the lady attendants. Manjit said, CCTV cameras and GPS system have been installed in most of the schools and the lady attendants have also been hired. He said there are very few schools that are yet to hire lady attendants in the school buses. However, all the buses will have the facilities according to the administration’s guidelines by August 1.