3 days ago when I was on board an MTC bus from Besant Nagar to Perambur I couldn’t help feeling for the crowd of school children whose conditions were deplorable as they hung on to whatever holding space they could get. The thought would have been only a passing one and I would have forgotten about it if it hadn’t been for that 13 year old Samuel’s incident. The government school student was run over by an MTC bus into which he was trying to get in; he slipped, fell and eventually lost his life. When my eyes caught sight of this news clipping in Saturday’s paper my thoughts were immediately transported to the pathetic conditions of school children which I myself have seen on numerous occasions.
There are 2 sides to this problem. Most of the MTC bus employees (drivers and conductors) are not considerate towards the school going children. Many of them ridicule the little ones and even throw them out of the bus (I have witnessed this on more than one occasion). But the problem doesn’t end there. There are certain section of school goers who don’t heed the safe traveling norms set by the government and get on the bus just for the “foot board” experience. Both of the above mentioned problems are equally important.
Free bus passes to school goers was a good initiative by the Government, but it does not provide any concrete solution to the problem this accident prone section of metro travelers face. It can be easily gauged that mostly the students who cannot afford any other means of transport end up using the bus on a regular basis. Majority of them are government school students. Even a superficial analysis of the city can give us 3 or 4 important routes covering most of the government schools in the city. Thiruvanmiyur-perambur and Tambaram-Broadway to name a few. So the best possible solution would be to kick start a “school students” special bus service (something on the lines of “Ladies” special). Operating such a service during the mornings and evenings when most schools start and end respectively, would give a welcome relief to the students as well as the parents. When ladies special buses can be operated so can these, and I am quite confident when I say that ladies special buses have now become somewhat redundant and less in use. So why not change the service to students special??
These were just my thoughts after reading about that incident and I am very sure that no such student special service will happen in the near future...