The new academic year begins in June, and school bus owners must get fitness certifications from the Regional Transport Office (RTO) before the schools reopen.
Anticipating a flood of bus owners seeking clearance in the coming days, the Nanded RTO has set aside a special quota for school buses in the online appointments beginning May 4.
"School bus proprietors who are having difficulty obtaining online appointments can use the offline approach as well. As a special measure, the necessary inspection of their cars will be scheduled on Sunday and other public holidays," according to an official announcement released by Nanded RTO.
According to RTO officials, small buses (light motor vehicles) and big buses (heavy motor vehicles) would be charged Rs 600 and Rs 800, respectively, for fitness certifications. When filing for a fitness certificate, bus owners must also pay the annual tax, which is around Rs 100 per seat and fluctuates depending on seating capacity.
"A fitness certificate is required for school buses, and a fine of Rs 4,000 is assessed for violations, among other things. Because the safety of children is at issue, all bus owners are urged to have their vehicles examined in order to get fitness certifications,"RTO officials stated.
A group of school bus owners has asked for more time to obtain the fitness certificate. We incurred significant losses as a result of the school closures during the last two academic years. Our income has just recently begun, and we still have a lot of debt to pay off. The RTO officials must not launch a crackdown on buses at the start of the academic year, said Ramesh Gaikwad, who works in school transportation.
Tukaram Saraf, an education activist, believes that school-owned transportation services should be required to get a fitness certificate before June. The schools have already collected funds from parents for the bus service. As a result, schools should have no trouble demonstrating the requisite compliance, he stated.