From the news desk

Scholar transport ‘more than just a ride’

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The City’s Traffic Service wants to remind everyone that student transportation is more than simply a way to get to school and that drivers need to check several procedural boxes as the new school year gets underway. 

The law stipulates that anyone or any organization that provides student transportation services must, among other things, possess an operating permit, a public driving permit (PrDP), and a roadworthy vehicle.

The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works issues these permits, and the enforcement divisions of the City are responsible for enforcing compliance.

34 scholar transport operations were conducted in 2022 by Cape Town traffic authorities at 52 schools throughout the metropolis. They handed out 7 649 penalties and seized 116 vehicles.

One of the difficulties faced by enforcement personnel is that some operators overburden their cars, let unlicensed drivers to operate, transport learners in vehicles that are not roadworthy, and do not have the required operating permits.

“Sadly, scholar transport is often overlooked, until an incident captures the headlines. And yet, thousands of children are ferried to and from school on a daily basis by service providers – some more law abiding than others. As we start this new academic year, I appeal to the drivers to do right by the many children whose lives they hold in their hands every day. To parents, I encourage you to do your due diligence and check the credentials of your chosen service provider; and even our schools – while not technically their responsibility, I do implore them to say something if they see something,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security,” Alderman JP Smith.

Operators are reminded that, in addition to being fined and having their vehicles impounded, they also run the risk of having their operating licenses revoked or suspended if they are found in violation. They are also reminded that they can be arrested for providing a service with false documentation and that reckless or negligent driving can also land them in jail and cause their vehicle to be impounded.

To protect their kids’ safety when traveling to and from school, parents are urged to take the following actions:

  • Check your service provider’s credentials, including permits and driving license
  • Ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy
  • Know the driver/s and have contact details available
  • Scholar Transport Operator they entrust the child / children to are legal and have all the necessary documentation to provide such a service.
  • Familiarise yourself with the parents/caregivers of other children using the transport service – start a WhatsApp group in case of an emergency
  • Sensitize your child on matters of personal safety and to report any suspicious behaviour, whether from the driver or other children in the vehicle

Residents are reminded to phone 021 480 77 00 from a cell phone and 107 from a landline to report any criminal activity or emergency.

Source: City of Cape Town

Photo: Unsplash

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