Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is running an inspection campaign encompassing buses of 286 schools and nurseries in Dubai. The move is part of RTA’s standing commitment to streamlining the school transport practices, verifying the compliance of operators with the regulations in place, and implementing preventive measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic while lifting students.
RTA explained that visits to schools would be based on an analysis of data captured from schools in terms of the number of violations reported during the previous academic year 2021-2022 through a smart inspection system. The inspection of school buses covers: (The security and safety of buses, permits for drivers and attendants along with their compliance with the assigned tasks and the cleanliness of buses).
From the start of the new academic year 2022-2023, Passenger Transport Activities Monitoring Department at RTA’s Public Transport Agency will embark on the said inspections, which are part of ongoing inspection campaigns in this important sector dealing with different groups of students. RTA is always keen on offering safe and smooth transport services and the inspections of school buses are part of pre-set strategic plans to monitor the operation of these buses across Dubai and verify their compliance with the regulations governing their operation.
Field inspectors carry out periodic safety inspections on school buses to ensure their compliance with specifications and the fulfilment of the requirements of the school bus transport services. RTA adopts the highest safety standards on par with the top international practices of the industry. RTA has also set safety standards for operating school buses such as setting a cap on the speed limit of buses such that they should not exceed 80 km/h. Each bus must be fitted with a speed control device compatible with the standards of the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology.
Each bus must contain a First Aid kit the contents of which must conform to the number of seats. It should have a 6 kg fire extinguisher dedicated to extinguishing all types of fires and placed in a designated place near the driver’s seat and a sign should indicate its position. The extinguishers have to comply with a set of guidelines such as having one 6 kg fire extinguisher on buses with less than 50 riders, and two 6 kg fire extinguishers on buses with more than 50 riders.
All models of buses designated for transporting students must not be older than 15 years from the date of manufacture. Each bus must have emergency exits commensurate with the number of passengers, with at least one emergency exit on each side, excluding the exit or the driver’s door which are not classified as emergency exit doors. The locations of these exits should be clearly marked, and no obstacles should be placed in a way that prevents the accessibility of riders to these exits during emergency cases.
All school buses must be subjected to an electronic GPS tracking system enabling identifying the locations of buses. Safety belts with double hooks must be fitted to all seats exposed from the front, such as the front seats and the middle seat of the last seats. The driver’s seat must have triple hooks. To prevent accidents for students inside and outside the bus, all internal and external parts of the bus must not have sharp edges.
RTA had set several standards and controls for operators of school transport services highlighted by Regulations No (2) for 2008 regulating the school transport in Dubai, and the Executive Regulation and the handbook detailing specifications of school buses. The regulations detail the design and standards of security of safety of school buses, roles and responsibilities of schools, entities, attendants and operators of school buses along with bus drivers, students and their parents.