The buses leased by Mowasalat to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education are carrying more than 56,000 students of over 250 schools in the country every day.
Informing this to The Gulf Times , a senior official of Mowasalat said currently 255 schools are using the buses to ferry the students between their homes and schools. "To and fro they are conducting close to 4000 trips a day," he said while adding that the schools are using three types of buses with seating capacities of 26, 35 and 40 seats . Each of them has an average capacity of 28 students.
Answering a question, the official said currently Mowasalat is carrying only children of the schools coming directly under the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The official said other schools, if interested, could contact Mowasalat for school buses. However, he did not give the hiring charges for the buses.
New school buses were launched in a ceremony last week, attended by the Minister of Transport and Communications HE Jassim Saif al-Sulaiti and Minister of Education and Higher Education Mohamed bin Abdul Wahed al-Hammadi.
The first batch of the new fleet of buses, designed in orange and cream colours, consisted of 150 units.
Inquiries with Mowasalat found all other school buses will be similarly painted in coming days and old buses would be phased out in different batches.
It is also learnt that in a little over a decade, the number of school buses delivered by Mowasalat to the Ministry of Education has almost doubled. In 2005, when the school buses started carrying children, there were around 1150 units in service. Now the number, including spare buses, is close to 2300. For the travel of children with special needs, 15 specially equipped buses are also provided to the schools.
The recently introduced new buses , all fitted with Cummins engines (Germany) , have many enhanced safety features, such as seat belts, emergency exits, first aid kits, reverse cameras and sensors. They are also equipped with stop signs that alert other vehicles when collecting and dropping children.
The buses are also equipped with such mechanical features as ignition switch which doesn't operate when the door of the engine compartment is open, automatic fire extinguishers in the engine compartment, and advanced monitoring system.
The buses also have LCDs for the display of educational materials and water dispensers.
The giant sized stickers outside would help others identify the buses as those meant for ferrying school students.
One of the newly introduced Mowasalat school buses leased to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
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