The bus services that were being operated under the Students Special Bus Scheme has stopped plying on most of the routes for the past four days, creating major inconvenience to students.
The Students Special Bus Scheme provides transport facilities at a concession rate of `1 to students of government and aided schools in Puducherry and Karaikal by engaging private bus operators through Puducherry Road Transport Corporation. Around nineteen operators had been operating the bus services on fifty-five routes under the scheme.
While in some routes like Ariyankuppam and Abisekapakkam regions, the buses have been totally stopped and on a few routes, the service is minimal, president of the Students Federation of India State A Anand told The New Indian Express.
“Instead of four buses, only one bus is being operated,” he added. The federation submitted a petition to Chief Minister N Rangasamy on Friday, seeking regular services.
Officials of the Department of Education are fully aware of the situation. Some bus operators, after informing the Education Department, had stopped plying buses while others had stopped without informing, said an official. They said they were running on loss, and hence cannot continue, he added further.
Consequent to the accident that occurred on October 31, 2011, involving a special bus which claimed the life of a student and injured 62 others, the Directorate of School Education had instructed the operators to restrict the passenger capacity and not allow more than 80 students to travel at a time during a trip.
Currently, the operators are paid a fixed amount per month for allotted routes on the basis of distance covered per day under three different slabs, added the Education Department official further.
Incidentally, the scheme is being operated for more than four years without any formal tripartite agreement among the Directorate of School Education (DSE), PRTC and private bus operators.
A proposal has been sent to the government for restructing the scheme, said the official from the Education Department.