Saturday, January 28, 2012

School buses

School buses in India have been getting a lot of media attention lately. Maybe because of the recent spurt in the increase in accidents involving those buses or maybe life has become that much more valuable in India now. So the Supreme Court came up with a few well intentioned directives. Some of them should have been in place a long time ago. Things like – safe seat layouts, storage racks, emergency exits, speed governors and stopping signals.

Everything great so far. But the school bus operators interpreted those directives in their own sweet ways and now we have some funny results. To start with, most school buses in India are on contract. What that means is – the same buses that ferry people to their offices in the morning double up as school buses during the day. They then are hired for company picnics and other events for the weekend. What that essentially means is – every private bus on the roads in Mumbai is essentially a school bus.

Now one of the directives says that – school buses should identify themselves as one! So now almost all buses on the roads of Mumbai have a sticker on their back indicating that they are “On School and Comp Duty”. I presume Comp is a shortened – company. So that sticker doesn’t indicate anything. It just says that if there are kids inside we are ferrying them to school (India doesn’t allow child labour with exceptions) and if there are grown-ups these people are off to work.

On School and Comp. Duty

One of the other directives is about proper graphics. The rule says that there must be a readily identifiable graphic on the bus to indicate that it carries children. The proposed symbol I believe was the one shown below.

School Bus Insignia

But some of our bus operators probably found it to be too boring and then they came up with this one. its colourful, shows happy faces and indicates that its a school bus.

Multi-cultural School Students

Now the person who made that graphic, probably downloaded a stock photo off the internet. The irony of that image is – there is no Indian child in that picture. Its a politically correct image representing a child from each continent. So the first gal can pass off as a representative of the South American continent. The second can represent North America, Europe and Australia. The third gal is there to represent all of us Asians and the fourth kid is an African. The fifth guy probably is there to represent Antarctica as a continent (I can’t seem to place him in Asia and Africa and the gal already represents the other continents).

Finally, some innovative operators thought they would sound important by putting a warning “Drive slowly, school kids on-board” behind. What they failed to realize is that some of the craziest drivers on the road are none other than these people themselves! So the buses go fast and wild all the while warning slower people behind them to drive slower! If anything, these warnings should have been put in front of the bus driver’s own face.

No comments:

Post a Comment