Dubai: One of the UAE’s largest school bus operators and RoadSafetyUAE, a leading road-safety campaign, have reiterated the preparedness of school transport to help ferry students back to their classes.
After having been forced to close in March because of the COVID-19 outbreak, schools are now all set to let school buses resume their regular services when classes resume on August 30.
Like the school premises and classrooms, buses will also have to implement a new set of safety protocols that were recently announced by education authorities to ensure the safety of pupils and staff in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Steve Burnell, managing director of School Transport Services (STS), which transports 80,000 students daily on its fleet of 2,500 buses when there are regular classes, said STS has implemented all the safety protocols.
‘The new protocol’
“In these challenging times, there is a renewed focus on the safety aspect of our operations and we have added a comprehensive list of COVID-19 related safety requirements for our school bus services. The new protocol — which is in line with the relevant authorities’ requirements — addresses students, our buses, our drivers and bus guardians and our entire operation,” he added.
“The safety protocol includes pre-trip bus sanitisation, the social distancing of students before boarding, face mask mandate, personal hygiene, temperature checks, smart bus ID-card scanning, monitoring student welfare, social distancing upon board, seat belt mandate, social distancing upon de-boarding and post-trip bus sanitisation,” Burnell further said.
Partnering with RTA
STS and RoadSafetyUAE have been working over the past years to jointly promote school bus safety via various initiatives, promoting the STS ‘Smart School Bus’ initiative — an award-winning programme in partnership with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority — and through speeches at events and other related initiatives.
Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, said: “We regard STS as the leader in the school bus industry and we applaud them for adapting to the ‘new normal’ in school bus transportation in such an exemplary manner. COVID-19 brings a lot of change to the society and certainly parents want to have the extra reassurance that their children are being transported in the safest way there is.”