Nagpur: During the forthcoming winter session of the State Legislature, which is being held here after a gap of almost two years, I would also like to see the state government reaches out to the central government on behalf of the school bus owner.
School bus owners are caught in a huge financial problem since the Coronavirus pandemic and apart from this, there are many issues that are in dire need of immediate resolution. If school buses are recognized as a separate category, then most of the problems will be solved.
Manufacturers should be asked by the central government to use the small-engine vehicle only as a school bus. Why do we need this now? This is because of the economics involved. At present, the cost of a 50-seater bus is around Rs 28 lakh and its lifespan is also 15 years.
Once we are done using it as a school bus, Then our driver absolutely cannot go beyond 40 km/h and absolutely cannot use it for any purpose other than carrying children.
State government can help us to convince the central government
This school bus runs only 20,000km/year and it is completely impossible for us to recover the money in its lifetime. To overcome this financial challenge, the transporter will rent out its bus for non-school related travel which creates other problems.
Therefore, if the state government can help us to convince the central government about the need to have a specific category of school buses, then our problems will be solved. Put a smaller engine on the bus so that they don’t go beyond 40-50 km/h anyway. This is going to help a lot in saving fuel and will also make school buses as a separate category much more financially viable for the operator. Samar Jog is the president of the School Bus Owners Association.