News | UAE

Minibuses set to be banned from transporting schoolchildren in Dubai

Number of accidents and fatalities caused by vehicles is very high, police say

  • By Bassma Al Jandaly, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 June 16, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • Minibuses may soon be forbidden from transporting children to schools, senior police officials said.

Dubai: Minibuses may not be allowed to transport children to and from school, senior police officials said on Sunday.

The rule is expected to come into force at the start of the next academic year.

Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief, said minibuses were very dangerous and should not be used to transport people.

“We will coordinate with the concerned authority in order to ban using minibuses in schools from the next academic year,” said Lt Gen Dahi.

He said that unfortunately some schools use minibuses to transport children because it was cheaper than using large buses.

Lt Gen Dahi said the use of minibuses was dangerous and their use should be limited to the transportation of goods.

Maj Gen Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Chief of Dubai’s Police Traffic Department, said on Sunday that minibuses should be banned as a means of transporting people.

Minibuses, normally designed to carry eight to ten people, are considered especially unsafe when overcrowded. In the past five months of this year alone 30 accidents out of 637 were caused by minibuses — 4.71 per cent of the total number of accidents. Minibus accidents caused the deaths of two people and injured 63 people, three of whom sustained serious injuries.

“The minibus doesn’t have basic safety features present in other vehicles. It holds around 14 passengers seated very close to each other and shouldn’t be used to transport passengers as its structure is not strong enough to hold this number of passengers. This vehicle is unstable and it could deceive the driver,” he said.

The maximum number of passengers a minibus can carry was reduced to nine from 16, but this rule has been largely ignored.

“Minibuses in general should be banned. The nine and 14-seat minibuses are very unsafe. Around 15 to 20 people die every year in accidents involving these vehicles,” said Maj Gen Al Zafein.

He said: “The bus can easily overturn on a curve when speeding. The design of the seats puts passengers too close for comfort and there are no emergency exits as in regular buses.”

He said many schools and companies use minibuses to transport their workers or pupils. Their lives are put in danger because such light vehicles usually lose their balance when they are involved in accidents.

“There should be a total ban on the transportation of schoolchildren in minibuses,” he said.

No special licence is required to operate minibuses, although they are designed to carry more people than ordinary cars.

Maj Gen Al Zafein said that 5.85 per cent of all road deaths last year involved minibuses.

He said that 87 accidents involving minibuses last year resulted in the death of seven people and caused injuries to 179 people, 15 of whom sustained serious injuries — the accident rate increased with the number of passengers travelling in minibuses.

Comments (22)

  1. Added 18:09 June 17, 2013

    It is not the vehicle which causes accidents, it is the drivers whose irresponsible driving causes accidents. If indeed there is some mechanical or design fault in minibuses then why are they allowed to be sold in the market? Before banning minibuses, the public should be presented with the statistics of deaths caused IN a minibus versus deaths caused IN cars. I am sure we all know the answer to that. Please do the research properly as I recall by the grace of Allah, there has never been a single fatal accident caused by a school minivan but there was a fatal accident caused by the 50 seat school bus last year. Alternatively banning minivans will have a huge economical impact on the owners and drivers and will also affect the timing a student spends in a school bus. I request the authorities to carefully study the ramifications before passing any law and discuss this issue with all the concerned parties.

    Farah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:35 June 17, 2013

    It's great news. I personally feel for parents it IS a practical decision and it not only comforts parents but also children for who small vans are known to cause nausia. I have heard from many children who complain of feeling stuffy and discomfort in small vans.

    Ram, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 15:16 June 17, 2013

    It is not the vehicle having issue here, it's the person driving the vehicle.

    Cecil, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 15:04 June 17, 2013

    Yesterday evening also I noticed in Business Bay Crossing, one mini bus transporting labourers going more than 120km/h. I wondered how they could run like that on the fast track, while flashing headlights at the cars going in front of them. Our company also has passenger buses equipped with speed limit device. Obviously the authorities authorities can't take action against all the violators but they have to make sure that working condition of the speed limit equipment and the violators will be highly punished. We the public, are unable to make complaints against these type of irresponsible and arrogant drivers because of the lack of proper complaint division and proof of evidences also. The authorities should control the speed of Heavy trucks, Mini buses and heavy buses carrying labourers. These drivers are putting others lives also in trouble.

    Anil, Cheruvalloor, Kollakadavu, Dubai, India

  5. Added 14:54 June 17, 2013

    MINI BUSES ARE NOT DANGEROUS, CARELESS DRIVER ARE WORST CAUSING ACCIDENTS. I suggest all minibuses to be installed with device to record speed 40 kms in city arterial roads, 60 kms in city main road and 80 on highways, anyone found clocked more than the said speeds should be deprived to drive MINIBUS for a year if found otherwise, suspend the licence with fine.

    Syed J Huq, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 14:49 June 17, 2013

    school mini buses are already with a lot of safety equipment (stop arm, speed regulators of 80 km/h , fire extinguishers, no-folding seats, first aid kits,) also the drivers of the school minibuses and the big buses hold a special school bus driving permit(school bus driving license). So i think the authorities have already put a lot of rules to make them safe enough and that's the reason we hardly see any school mini bus accident. The problem comes with the normal mini buses (non-school) they drive like F1 on Dubai roads. There are no safety equipment's on these buses. The major problem with these mini van's is over speeding as the body of these buses is way to to light to control in cases of emergencies.

    Nabil, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 14:41 June 17, 2013

    Mini buses don't kill people or cause injuries, it is the people who do it. Ensure special training of school bus drivers for safe driving. The vehicle manufacturers are putting in the number of seats in the mini buses obviously for a reason and only after approvals from international transport safety consortiums, if such a vehicle is so dangerous the manufacturer should be banned for producing such a vehicle.

    matt, Sydney, Australia

  8. Added 14:39 June 17, 2013

    How does banning mini bus from being used as a school transportation makes the children safer? Mini Bus or Big Bus - these are just machines controlled by the human mind behind the wheel. We should invest in ideas to control this "human-mind" rather than in size of the bus!

    Satish, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 13:47 June 17, 2013

    THEY SHOULD ALSO BAN THIS FOR OTHER PASSENGERS AS WELL. MINIBUS IS DRIVEN IN THE FAST LANE ABOUT 120 KM.

    ALTAF, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 12:31 June 17, 2013

    The statistics are concerning, and I can understand why this bold move is considered. I was involved in an accident a while ago with a minibus, yet it was not the minibus that reversed down the one-way into my car...it was the DRIVER of the minibus. I do not agree that this ban is a viable long-term solution which would solve the problem. This is not the UK or US, however I still feel that people transporting passengers should have a specialised driving license or permit. At present, anybody with a license can drive a minivan. Also, the article refers to mini vans being unstable when SPEEDING. Have all mini buses used for passenger transportation been fitted with autograde speed limiters as required? That in conjunction with a specialised PDP (professional driving permit) should go a long way in making the great roads we enjoy here much safer.

    Michael de Beer, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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