TRANSPORT SERVICE POLICY

INTRODUCTION

The Transport Department of Podar Group of Schools is established by seasoned transportation professionals to provide strategic solutions to student transportation issues. We at Podar respond to all critical needs by creating smart solutions to unique situations involved in school bus operations.

OUR MISSION

To provide safe and reliable transport services to the students at the highest levels of safety, quality, customer service and positive employee relations.

OUR VISION

To be the first and foremost in providing the safest and the most comfortable school transportation without compromising on safety, professionalism, training, leadership and quality.

OUR COMMITMENT

We are committed to provide the best school transport service with highest safety measures and comfort to each student. Our transport team is engaged in research, development and implementation of systems and practices to make our service the best in the industry.

OUR HISTORY

The Transport Department of Podar Schools is established by seasoned transportation professionals who have a track record of more than 20 years of rich experience in managing school transport services.

OUR TEAM

Our team consists of experts in the areas of safety, training, recruitment, human resources, maintenance, route management, customer service and public relations.

FACTS

We are one of the leading schools having a well organized and disciplined bus fleet of over 450 buses.

We have established ourselves by seasoned transportation professionals who have a track record of more than 20 years of safe transportation of students with best safety records.

We are transporting more than 29,000 students to and from schools every day. 40% of our drivers have put in more than 10 years of service under the same management.

Every new driver is put through 30 hours of in-house Pre-Service training. The drivers are monitored by well experienced Supervisors / Transport Contractors and Managers.Our School buses cover an aggregate distance of approximately 45,000 kms everyday in more than 750 routes.

SERVICE

When we appoint Transport contractors, we hire a strategic partner who works closely with us to implement solutions, identify opportunities and confront strategic issues.

We believe that a school bus is an extension of a classroom and it is important that the school authorities give adequate attention to the discipline and well-being of the children in buses. It is with this purpose we as a responsible school ensure that Conductors and Lady Attendants are there in every bus.

THE TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT AND PARENTS

We endeavour to provide the best possible service for both parents and students.We place the safety and responsibility of the children as our highest priority.

We value the parents' trust in our service and endeavor to provide the highest standards of care. In this regard our Customer Care Executives in the Transport Department are in constant touch with the parents. We listen to the parents.

STUDENT MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

One area in student transportation that can cause very serious problems for the transportation supervisor, bus driver, and the school system, is student behaviour.

It is probably the most complex and demanding phase of the student transportation system, as well as the hardest to satisfactorily handle. Student behaviour on school buses can become a serious problem for bus drivers and the school if not properly and timely corrected.

A co-ordinated and mutually respected platform for the parents, school and the Transport Department in the form of a "Transport Committee" will go a long way in bringing about positive attitudinal changes in all concerned.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The best way to correct the student behaviour problem is to have a clear and definite understanding of what is expected on the part of all parties concerned. All guidance concerning student behaviour should be well known and clearly understood by bus drivers, students, parents, administrators and teachers and School Transport Services members. All concerned are requested to abide by the following:

TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT'S ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES

The Transport Department at Podar sets the tone for the safe transportation of children. Clear and concise policy statements are made and adopted. The Transport Department will adhere to all the bus specifications and safety measures prescribed by the Regional and State Transport Authority. They are responsible for-

  • Comprehensive evaluation of the transport system of each school
  • Preparation of policies and procedures and effective implementation
  • School bus routing efficiency audit
  • Routing and logistics solutions
  • Recruitment and training (pre-service training programme, Quarterly in-service training) of drivers, Conductors and Lady Attendants and monitoring their performance on a daily ongoing basis.
  • Deployment of buses with specification prescribed by RTA / local authorities
  • Maintenance and upkeep of buses
  • Ensuring the highest standards in school transportation.

FUNCTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT

  • For bus drivers to effectively perform their duties, the Principal or person designated by the school must enforce rules and regulations concerning transportation of pupils.
  • When cases of indiscipline, damage of buses or any misbehaviour are brought to the attention, take necessary disciplinary action.
  • Should be aware of the seating plan of students in the buses, details of the routes and the time taken for picking-up and dropping-off of children.
  • Create awareness of road safety and bus safety amongst the students through various activities including Class-room training.
  • Provide a safe environment in the bus parking zone
  • Provide necessary training to the conductors/ bus supervisors to take care of the students, to take their attendance in every trip and also etiquettes and manners in dealing with parents and students
  • Teachers and administration staff of schools must be present at the parking zone to ensure safety of children when they arrive and depart.

THE SCHOOL AND TEACHERS :

  • It should be mandatory that students are provided instructions in school on bus safety and receives one evaluation procedure at least once a year. Teachers have a golden opportunity to impart safety instructions and material in the classroom.
  • Lessons can be geared around transportation according to grade level. Students can be asked to write compositions expressing feelings, reactions and concerns about transportation. Class discussions are beneficial. It just needs a little imagination and effort. Teachers can do some seemingly small things that will help educate the students, obtain brilliant ideas from them for us to emulate and to prevent accidents.
  • Send students on time for buses. Let them not run to catch buses.
  • Teachers should discourage students to carry bulky projects or instruments that might block aisles.
  • Speak positively to students about transportation safety.
  • Teachers should have a good knowledge of local rules and regulations regarding transportation.

THE SCHOOL AND TEACHERS 

Students must bear their share of responsibility for safety while travelling in school buses. The privilege of any student to ride a school bus is conditioned upon their good behaviour and observance of the rules and regulations set forth by the school and transport operator. Certain levels of conduct are expected of any and all students riding the bus. All students shall conduct themselves in a manner conducive to the safe transportation of all. No conduct will be tolerated that will in any way cause distraction of a driver's attention that might result in unsafe operation of the bus. Students are expected to respect the authority of the bus driver and obey his/her instructions. If the rules are followed, all concerned can expect to have a safe bus trip.

WHILE WAITING TO BOARD THE BUS

  • Arrive at your assigned bus stop five (5) minutes before the school bus arrives. The driver cannot wait for you, as it may create traffic problems.
  • Do not play in the path of traffic and stand well away from the road when the bus approaches.
  • Remember the danger zone around the bus. The danger zone is anywhere close enough to the bus to touch it. The bus driver cannot see you when you are in the danger zone.
  • Do not damage other people’s property while waiting for the bus. Avoid making excessive noise.
  • Fighting and playing at bus stops and on the way to and from school should be avoided.
  • Never run alongside the bus when the bus is moving. Wait until the bus stops and the driver/conductor signals and then walk to the door and board the bus in an orderly manner. DO NOT PUSH OR SHOVE

WHILE RIDING ON THE BUS

  • Obey the Marshall's/Lady Attendant's instructions. The Conductor of a school bus is in complete charge of students while they are on the bus. Complaints regarding discipline on the bus should be taken to the Principal / Transport Department.
  • The Marshall / bus conductor has the authority to assign seats. Students shall remain properly seated while the bus is in motion.
  • The windows of the bus must be closed at all times. On no account does any student have the right to open a window of a bus. This is in keeping with the preventive measures against any injury to the student.
  • Refrain from talking to the driver except in an emergency.
  • No one shall tamper with any equipment or operate any part of the bus.
  • Do not mar or deface the bus. Students caught damaging bus equipment will be subject to disciplinary action and/or restitution.
  • There is to be no fighting or profanity on the bus or any loud disturbances. Students must not wave or shout at pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles. Do not throw objects from bus windows.
  • Eating inside the bus is not permitted. Save snacks for snack time at school or till you get home. They may spill or you may choke if the bus goes over a bump.
  • Use of tobacco and its by-products or drugs, in any form, is prohibited.Bullying / fighting, use of abusive language is not permitted.
  • Students are required to ride their assigned bus, unless they have written approval from the Transport Department.

WHILE LEAVING THE BUS

  • When you leave the bus, hold the handrail.
  • In case you need to cross a street, ensure that you cross it in front of the bus. Cross only when the driver/conductor gives a signal. Cross the street in single file.
  • If you drop something near the bus, don't pick it up. Tell the driver or another adult.
  • If everyone is getting off the bus, the people in the front leave first. Do not push.
  • Allow small children and/or disabled children to board/alight first.
  • Be familiar with the rules of emergencies.

PARENT'S RESPONSIBILITIES

Progress has been made in the improvement of safety and safety awareness in the transportation of students. However, one critical area that has not been explored to the fullest extent is the role and responsibility of parents and guardians of the students. Safety awareness must begin and be consistently reinforced at home. The following points are suggested for parents:

  • Familiarize themselves with school and transport provider policies and procedures pertaining to riding a bus. Know their child's bus number, telephone numbers of the Bus Attendant, Transport Supervisor and School.
  • Parents should try to establish the exact time their child should be at the bus stop in the morning. They should also recognize the dangers of students playing at the edge of a busy roadway.
  • Warn their children of the dangers of strangers who appear friendly and hang around bus stops. Provide their child with a school bag to carry all their school supplies. Loose papers / materials are a serious hazard.
  • Stress the importance of remaining properly seated and reasonably quiet and disciplined while aboard the bus.
  • Familiarize them with emergency procedures and danger zones around the bus and suggest they discuss these zones with their children.
  • Make sure children have their bus ID cards.
  • Parents should explain to their child that situations aboard the bus may not always be familiar. The bus might have to take an alternative route, a substitute may be driving the bus, or occasionally another bus might be used. If the child is confused, they need to be encouraged to ask the Conductor, Lady Attendant or Driver relevant questions.
  • Parents should also support policies of the school and transport provider.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF STUDENTS AND THEIR GUARDIANS AS PER RTA BOOKLET

  • Guardians to drop their children to the school bus or pick-up point well before time. In the event of any delay from their part, they bear the responsibility of dropping their children to the school without any responsibility on the part of the School Transport Department.
  • Assist in training and educating their children on the importance of safety and how to wait for the school bus and board it.
  • Report to the Management of the school / transport department regarding any offence or failure on the part of the Lady Attendant/driver/conductor/marshals.
  • The driver is responsible to return the student to the school if there is no person to collect him or her at the time of returning home and guardians are responsible for any associated outcome.
  • The student must maintain cleanliness of the bus and advise the school management or his / her guardian in case the driver or any other student breaches the rules in transit.
  • The Transport Department / School is solely entitled to deny any student from transport service in case any of the following condition apply

- If the student is to blame for delaying the trip more than three times in a single academic year.

- If the student breaches any safety rule and makes others liable to danger during the trip.

- If the student deliberately alights from the bus before arriving to the specified drop-off point, without a prior consent.

- If the student, against whom more than three written complaints were made during a single academic year, continues to cause troubles.

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER'S RESPONSIBILITIES

The conduct of students on a bus has a direct relationship to their safety. The position should be taken that no act or conduct that distracts the driver from safely maneuvering the school bus through traffic and operating the bus safely will be condoned or tolerated. Swift and firm action must be taken by the driver to solve and correct these problems.

  • One of the first steps a school bus driver must take toward controlling student behaviour is to set a proper example. The driver should always practice good driving habits, take personal interest in the job, keep abreast of all advancements that take place in pupil transportation and take excellent care of the equipment.
  • Secondly, the attitude toward the job and toward the students is critical. The driver must realize that it is more important to be "respected" by the students than to be "liked" by them. Students can accept and will conform to rules and regulations, which are fairly, firmly and consistently enforced. Letting some students get away with breaking the rules in order to be nice so that they will like you is a sure way for the school bus driver to have trouble! This tactic will result in students losing respect for the driver.
  • Most of the general public and, to a degree, school bus drivers feel that a school bus driver needs only to be trained to drive the bus safely. There is much more to the job as a school bus driver than that.
  • The School bus driver should be the best defensive driver on the road.
  • understand and obey all traffic laws.
  • attend all training sessions.
  • maintain the buses in excellent condition.
  • never over-speed.
  • physically check the bus after every trip to be sure that no child is left behind.
  • send an SMS to the Transport Department after the last child is dropped off.

TRANSPORT SUPERVISOR / CONDUCTOR'S / LADY ATTENDANT'S RESPONSIBILITIES

  • ensure that students are picked up and dropped off at the designated points only.
  • ensure that students are handed over directly to the parent or guardian only.
  • handle children carefully and maintain safety and discipline on the bus
  • help children to cross roads, wherever needed.
  • Girl students will compulsorily be assisted by Lady Attendants only.
  • communicate with parents politely in a disciplined manner
  • report any misbehaviour of the student to the Principal/Transport Department
  • clean the bus before and after every trip
  • take daily attendance of students and give report to the Transport Department officials.
  • physically check the bus after every trip to be sure that no child is left behind and/or
  • no important papers / bags / education materials are left behind.
  • ensure the bus is kept neat and tidy internally and externally, washed / cleaned everyday
  • ensure that the curtains(if any) are drawn properly; no lose papers, clothes are inside the buses
  • Ensure that route details and student details are pasted in each bus.
FACILITIES
  •     A number of buses owned by Podar are installed with CCTV Cameras to monitor student discipline, any untoward happening etc.
  •     In certain buses, each seat of the Bus is fixed with individual Seat Belts to ensure added safety while travelling.
  •     Every Bus owned by the School is installed with Speed Regulators / Governors, so that there is no complaint regarding overspeeding.
  •     Each Bus owned by the School has been further protected by a padded shield near the main door of the Bus so as to prevent even a small object from falling down the stair of the Bus.
  •     A number of buses owned by Podar have been provided by a Door Safety Alarm, in order to ensure that the Main door of the Bus remains closed while the Bus is in Motion.
STATE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY

GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOL BUSES BY STATE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY

The State Transport Authority passed a new set of guidelines for school buses, which are furnished hereunder :-

  • School bus drivers should have a minimum of five years' experience.
  • Every school bus must have an experienced Lady Attendant / Conductor.
  • (Two) Fire-extinguishers are compulsory on each school bus. Training is to be given to the Drivers / Attendants on its use, by Fire officers from the local Fire Brigade station.
  • Each bus should necessarily have a First Aid Kit and Drivers / Attendants should be imparted with the training on its use, by experienced hospitals / compounders.
  • School buses should have a maximum of 1.5 kids per seat; e.g. a bus with 36 seats should not have more than 54 kids. No children shall be seated on the front, next to the Driver. The Driver’s portion of the Bus shall remain closed while the Bus is in Motion.
  • Children should necessarily place their Bags, either below the seat or on the bag-racks above.
  • In addition to the front door and emergency exit at the back, there must be a rear door situated between the back and the middle of the bus on the right hand side.
  • The windows of bus must be fitted with horizontal grills (Min - 3, Max - 4 nos) so that emergency evacuation is easy and fast.
  • The emergency exit window must not be sealed and should be easily openable in case of an emergency.
  • The word "school bus" must be written across the rear as well as front of the bus for buses owned by schools along with the telephone number of the school / transport department. For private buses authorized by the School, the words "On School Duty" must be prominently written on the front and the rear of the bus, along with the telephone / contact number of the Transport Operator.
  • The mobile number of the bus owner must be written across the bus for privately run buses, authorized by the School.
  • In addition to a door at the front, there must be another emergency door on the right side, towards the rear of the bus. This door must extend from the windows to the floor of the bus.
  • The emergency door must have handles on both sides so that it can be opened from the inside and the outside
  • Handles must be covered with glass or plastic.
  • Buses may have an alarm that goes off when the emergency door is opened
  • Lights should start blinking when the rear door is opened. Note : Point Nos 15 and 16 are optional and not compulsory for the present.
  • There should also be a rear exit window made of transparent glass. Its dimensions should be 39 inches by 23 inches and 3 inches by 8 inches
  • Emergency window should have a handle on the inside as well as the outside.
  • The main door of the school bus should be invariably locked and fastened properly, while the bus is in motion and should be only opened when children are boarding and/or alighting.
  • Each bus will have one Conductor and Lady Attendant. (Any parent / Guardian or a Teacher may also be allowed to travel to ensure these Safety norms).
  • All Road Transport Offices in the state should publicise the new norms and ensure that they are implemented by bus operators and manufacturers.
  • All Schools will necessarily have a Transport Committee, comprising of the Principal, Transport Management and two / three parents who will meet regularly/periodically, to discuss shortcomings and bring about required improvements in the quality of services rendered.
Safety Norms

SAFETY NORMS IN THE SCHOOL BUS

We have attached great importance to enhance the Safety and Security measures for children travelling in our own School Buses. We furnish hereunder a list of such enhanced safety measures which have been implemented :-

  • All buses will be run by authorised Private Contractors only who have sufficient years of experience in running of school buses and who are fully acquainted and competent to adhere to the prescribed norms of safety as laid down by the Regional Transport Commissioner.
  • Parents are requested to desist from utilising the services of any unauthorised private transport,(other than those which are duly authorised by the School). The list of authorised Transport Contractors is displayed in the Transport Department Notice Board.
  • A number of buses have been installed with door closure systems with alarm. Thus while the bus is in motion, if the door is kept open, a shrill alarm will go off, thereby alerting all concerned.
  • A number of our school buses have been fitted with CCTV cameras.
  • Each Podar School bus has 3 adults in the bus. A trained driver, a lady attendant and a conductor.
  • All Lady Attendants will have a dedicated Mobile Number and will be designated for each route without being changed frequently. They will be monitoring discipline in the school bus, besides taking responsibility for conducting the bus and shall be reporting directly to the School Principals and the Transport Department.
  • New routes may be added during the academic session.
  • As per the recent R.T.O rules, private vehicles (unauthorised Bus, Mini Bus, Autorickshaws, etc) should not be used to ferry school children to and from school. These guidelines have also been reiterated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. The rule is important as these private vehicles may not prescribe to the safety and security norms for school children.
  • Suggestions and grievances may be brought to the notice of your respective school's Transport Manager. Details can be found at the organizational chart section and contact us section.
  • There will also be a Transport Committee for each school comprising of the respective Principal, Admin Officers / Transport Officers and two designated parents from the school. Officials from the Regional Tran