x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

More than 1,000 school buses now meet the new school transport regulations by the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport. These buses have been modified to ensure the safety, security and convenience of students at all Abu Dhabi public and private school buses.

ABU DHABI // More than 1,000 buses meet the new school transport regulations.

Their seats have had sharp edges removed and they have been upholstered with soft, fire-resistant and shock-absorbing material.

The seats cannot be folded and the aisles must be free of obstructions. The flooring is covered with a non-flammable, non-slip coating.

All buses have a new coat of bright yellow paint and are marked School Bus in Arabic and English. They have their own bus numbers displayed with the operator's name and phone number.

The vehicles have two fire extinguishers, a reflective warning sign in case of a breakdown, reversing alarms and a stop sign to warn other motorists when children are getting off.

Yousef Al Ghoul, specialist for project planning and scheduling at the Department of Transport, said school buses could not be older than 10 years.

An exception could be made on a yearly basis for buses up to 15 years old if they pass stringent safety tests.

Other specifications include clearly labelled emergency exits, and a GPS to monitor the movement of the bus and record its speed, acceleration, braking and manoeuvring.

They must also have a CCTV system with audio and video recording, and at least four external cameras to cover all sides of the bus.

The safety measures were determined in April this year by the school transport committee, which comprises members from the department, Abu Dhabi Police and Abu Dhabi Education Council.

Before the start of the school year, the committee visited Abu Dhabi Health Services Company's clinics for bus driver testing and checked on the progress of bus modifications at workshops and factories.

A department survey in 2010 and 2011 found the key concerns among pupils were overcrowding, air conditioning, cleanliness, safety and fare prices.

Inspections on public and private school buses showed vandalised and unsafe seats, closed emergency exits, barred windows and buses that did not stop in the proper place.

rruiz@thenational.ae