Schools are not just entrusted with the responsibility of creating independent and successful future citizens but also ensuring their utmost safety. The school management is accountable for the overall safety of the students, whether it is within the school premises or while the children are being picked and dropped to school and vice versa. In order to ensure the safety of the students during their travel, majority of the schools have incorporated a school transport facility. However, inspite of this facility, many parents voluntarily opt for a private transport for reasons well known to them. Now the question arises as to which transport option serves as a better and more reliable means for the children?
The debate of opting for a school transport vs a private transport is endless, each having its own set of distinctive pros and cons. So let’s highlight a few of them to understand what would be a safer and apt option for our children.
Taking into consideration the school transport, there are several parents that have voiced out some of the positive attributes associated to it, promoting it as a safer means of transport for children rather than a private vehicle.
Firstly, the school bus driver is appointed by the school management after a thorough scrutiny. This decision is a collective one which only adds to the legitimacy of the background check done on the appointed drivers, thus ensuring that the children are in safe hands while travelling to school, as opposed to a private driver who may be appointed through word of mouth. The school management is obliged to take up the onus of the children who travel by the school bus as they have several policies put in place to make sure that the students are safe. One such policy is to ensure that every school bus is escorted by a helper.
Usually the school insists on two helpers; one for the driver and the other for the children to ensure discipline among them. However, in the case of private transport, the responsibility completely lies on the parents as the school does not have any details about the private vehicle or its driver and have no legal authority over them. Also the presence of a helper is not mandatory in such private vehicles. The decision completely depends on the group of parents who have come together to arrange for such a transport for their children.
Secondly, unless in the event of a major mishap, the school buses are bound to be on time as their routes are well planned in advance. This ensures that all the children are picked and dropped at a particular time without any delays as these buses are dedicated only for the purpose of school transport. However, many a times the private transport vehicles indulge themselves in other activities during the day after picking and dropping the children to school. Thus if they are held up in some other work, it could lead to unwanted delays.
Thirdly, these days most of the school buses have a GPS device installed in them, which enables it to be easily traced down in case of any delays or emergencies. Additionally, this feature also serves as a medium to ensure minimum threat to the children in terms of abuse by the driver or any other crime. Also since school buses usually accommodate a large number of children under adult supervision, the possibility of an offensive event is quite minimal. This provides a great relief to the parents as they know that their children are under constant supervision while travelling and can be easily traced down.
On the other hand, private vehicles may not necessarily be GPS enabled, thus making them more vulnerable in terms of the safety of the students. The parents have no choice but to depend on the driver’s words for any delays, mishaps or tragedies with their children. Another positive attribute about the school bus is that unlike the private transport, if the driver fails to report, they always have a backup driver in place to ensure that the routine is not disrupted under any circumstances. This may not be the case with a private van. Usually private vehicles don’t have a backup driver in place or the process of arranging for an alternate driver leads to delays. This makes the situation very complicated, especially for the working parents.
Now let’s throw some light on the other side of the coin. Many parents opt for a private vehicle because they find the school transport more expensive in comparison to the private vans, thus making it an affordable option for them. Secondly, since the private vans accommodate only a small number of children, it becomes easy to supervise them and their routes are comparatively smaller. This makes the pickup and drop timings more convenient than the school bus. Children can leave for school later and reach home earlier than they would have, if they opted for a school transport.
Also parents are of the view that since the private driver is known to them, they can trust him better as compared to the school driver who is a complete stranger and they are clueless about his character. As the school drivers have a long list of pickup points, they do not spend more time waiting for a particular child. However, private vans have the leeway of waiting for a comparatively longer time as they have fewer pick up points.
Many a times the pickup points designated by the school may not necessarily be at your doorstep while the private vans will always pick and drop the children right in front of their residence thus providing an opportunity for supervision at all times.
However, having listed down some of the pros and cons of either modes of transport, it is quite clear that as difficult as it is for a parent to choose the right school for their children, it is equally difficult for them to choose an apt and safe means of transport to school. However, we cannot zero down to any one means of transport being the best or the safest. It solely depends upon the insight of the parents and their perception towards the well-being of their children.