A multi-stakeholder meeting unanimously opposed changing school hours in the city. But the meeting came up with an action plan to ease traffic during morning and evening school hours, to also ensure the safety of children.
The meeting, that included the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP), Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), private school managements and parents’ association, was held in the city on Monday, following a direction by the High Court of Karnataka to hold a stakeholder meeting and consider revising school timings in the city to ease traffic.
“Various stakeholders have various reasons. But everyone unanimously opposed changing school timings in the city,” said Ritesh Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, DSEL, after the meeting.
Local Area Plans in five hotspots
“BMTC and BTP have conducted comprehensive studies of the traffic situation in the morning and evening school hours. BTP has said that the traffic problem is not the same across the city. They have identified five hotspots: Hebbal Junction, Sarjapura, Adugodi, Bannerghatta Road and Central Business District. They have suggested formulating a Local Area Plans (LAPs) to resolve the issue during school hours,” Mr. Singh said, adding that Deputy Directors (DDPIs) and Block Education Officers (BEOs) will join hands with BTP to make these LAPs effective.
Private school managements suggest bus pooling
Private school managements have suggested that BMTC should run buses dedicated to school students and teachers during school hours morning and evening, for a group of schools in a particular area. “There are many smaller schools who cannot afford school buses. This forces parents to drop and pick up children in private vehicles adding to the traffic woes. Compared to school buses, BMTC bus pooling service will be cheaper,” Mr. Singh said.
Shashikumar D., General Secretary, Associate Managements of Schools in Karnataka, said the BMTC bus pooling initiative, if implemented, would resolve the traffic problem in the CBD area. “We hope that the court will consider our suggestions, instead of changes in school timings,” he said.
Deploy traffic wardens
The Parents’ Association has suggested that traffic wardens be deployed at schools during morning and evening hours to manage traffic and ensure children’s safety. Members of the association have also volunteered to work as traffic wardens, once a week, near schools where their children study.
“It was a very fruitful meeting. Despite opposition to change school timings, many suggestions have come up to resolve the issue. OnTuesday, when the issue will again come up for hearing, we will compile all the suggestions and submit a report to the High Court,” Mr. Singh said.