DUBAI: As new admissions to Indian curriculum schools have already started in the UAE for 2019, parents and school management plan to ensure that their school attendees are provided with a quality education and a safer, more affordable, punctual student transportation service.
“Students in Dubai, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), spend on average 30 to 60 minutes travelling to and from schools. The concerned UAE authorities are continuously taking initiatives to make student transportation a much safer and enjoyable experience,” said Shailesh Dash, Chairman of Gulf Pinnacle Logistics, the owner of the student-bus transportation company, Gulf Pinnacle Transport (GPT).
“The good news is that, in general, school buses in Dubai have become safer as the offences recorded by Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) dropped 79.4 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017. For the UAE government and parents, child’s safety comes first,” he added.
Latest media reports point out that more than 80,000 bus drivers and school bus supervisors have honed their skills at Dubai’s Emirates Transport Training Centre in the past three years amid a rise in demand for a risk-free student transport service.
Hailing more trained drivers in the market, Ganesh Sivaraman, Director, Gulf Pinnacle Transport, said, “The school bus is not just a vehicle which transports passengers from the pickup point to school and back. We at GPT, strongly believe that the transport staff have an opportunity to positively impact each student’s experience. The learning curve for students starts at the school bus, it is where friendships are formed”.
“Finding the right transport partner matters a lot to the school administration. It allows the schools to function more efficiently and focus on their core activity – Education. GPT has built a proven reputation as a transport partner to schools in the UAE, ensuring the best start and finish to the school day for students, their parents and the school administrations.”
Most parents from the middle- and low- income groups look for affordable, sustainable and efficient school transportation services for their children. Punctuality of school buses remains yet another priority helping schools and students in a timely start of school classes as well as guardians to plan students’ post school day.
“Using affordable student transport services helps save money that could be utilised in meeting other educational expenses of a child,” said Sivaraman, who manages GPT’s fleet of 275 buses transporting over 6,800 students.
GPT – which started with three school contracts in Dubai in August 2016 and reached 14 contracts with 275 buses in 2018 – bagged the first place in RTA’s prestigious Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport (DAST) in the “Transport Safety” category during the 2018 Awards ceremony.
“Setting up an effective transport framework – through an integrated approach involving technological measures and operational best practices – helped GPT bag the highest recognition in the UAE transport system in less than 18 months of its formation,” said Dash.
Under this safety model, GPT had identified more than 75 serious hazards involved in the general transportation system and mitigated them through 45 initiatives. The framework, which was developed with a zero-tolerance approach towards road safety incidents, was implemented across the serviced schools to address specific safety issues and concerns involved in various aspects of the transport system.
“School transport operators should not leave any stone unturned to ensure the safety of tens of thousands of students two times a day for five days a week. The school management and parents always prefer student transport companies that are safer, affordable and punctual,” said Sivaraman.
“GPT has never lost sight of the fact that we are responsible for the safety of the students. We have designed various best practices and on-board technologies, including mobile-enabled applications that provides real-time bus information directly to parents and the school administration. The student verification and integrated data solutions provide an efficient means to monitor rides of the students. These technological measures along with the industry-specific training of drivers are aimed at covering every aspect of transport requirement,” he added.
“After all children, the future of any nation must remain safe and secure,” Sivaraman concluded.