Rules change as minibuses are axed

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By 7DAYS News Team @7DAYSUAE

The oper­a­tors of school buses will soon be able to in­stall more seats on ve­hi­cles as part of changes to trans­port reg­u­la­tions.

Com­pa­nies and schools that op­er­ate their own large buses - those with a ca­pac­ity of more than 50 - can re­place 2+2 seat­ing with 2+3 from April 1, as long as there are two at­ten­dants, two fire ex­tin­guish­ers and two first aid kits on board.

The Roads and Trans­port Au­thor­ity (RTA) said ex­pan­sion comes as schools are told to phase out the use of minibuses by the end of this month.

Adel Shakri, Di­rec­tor of Plan­ning and Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment at the RTA’s Pub­lic Trans­port Agency, said the move is part of a range of changes, in­clud­ing all buses be­ing tracked by GPS for safety.

He said: “Due to safety and se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions, and to in­crease the ca­pac­ity of school buses, March 1 had been set as a dead­line for abol­ish­ing the use of minibuses (less than 6.2m in length) in school trans­port ser­vices, fol­low­ing the grant­ing of an 18 months grace pe­riod to schools for phas­ing out this sort of buses from school trans­port fleets.

“The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the School Trans­port Law has played a cru­cial role in main­tain­ing the safety of dif­fer­ent age groups of stu­dents us­ing school buses.

“This is ev­i­dent from the drop in the num­ber of an­nual ac­ci­dents recorded in this sec­tor by 10 per cent.” He added that schools have been given an ex­tra month to phase out minibuses. Shakri said: “Among the key achieve­ments made by the school trans­port sec­tor in Dubai is cut­ting fa­tal­i­ties to zero in 2015.”

A new ed­u­ca­tional ad­vert cam­paign fea­tur­ing char­ac­ters from the hit Ara­bic pro­gramme If­tah Ya Sim­sim is to be aired on tele­vi­sion chan­nels across the Gulf. The ad­verts are to pro­mote the Al­pha­bet Song and fea­ture Le­banese-Amer­i­can pop singer Mayssa Karaa. It has been writ­ten for chil­dren to sing with their moth­ers and has been re­leased to co­in­cide with Mother’s Day. Cairo Arafat, from pro­duc­ers Bi­daya Me­dia, said: “The time a mother spends with her chil­dren is in­valu­able and un­for­get­table, as it af­fects the child’s growth and well-be­ing greatly. If­tah Ya Sim­sim al­ways strives to cre­ate fun meth­ods of learn­ing.”

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