In a bid to ease traffic congestion on Qatar roads, the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSE) is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to have at least 80 percent of school students in the country ready to use school buses for daily transportation to schools and back.
The move to increase the number of students using school buses is being taken to stop thousands of personal vehicles from hitting to the roads during the morning and afternoon rush hours, NTSE General Manager Kim Jraiw told Qatar Tribune.
"Roads in Qatar witness heavy traffic in the morning and in the afternoon as a number of students use personal vehicles instead of schoolbuses to reach school and return home," Jraiw said.
Citing a recent estimate, Jraiw said that currently only 45 percent of independent school students and 60 percent of private school students use school buses in the country.
"Our aim is to make at least 80 percent of the total 300,000 students in the country use school buses. If this target is achieved, it will keep at least 50,000 personal vehicles off the roads in morning and afternoon peak hours," Jraiw said.
The move will also play a vital role in reducing the number of road accidents, which see an increase of up to 15 percent during the period when schools are open in the country, he said."We cannot, however, thrust our decision on parents to send their wards to school by buses only. But we can always encourage them to do so by explaining the benefits of public transportation in ensuring safety on the roads," he said.
To begin with, Jraiw said that there is a proposal to select 11 independent schools as a pilot project"where we will convince students and their parents to use school buses instead of personal vehicles."
"NTSE is working with the ministry to identify the first 11 schools. Once we achieve success at these schools, we will reach out to other schools," he said.
There are plans to hold meetings with the management of private schools as well in this connection, he said, adding that schools will be encouraged to use state-of-the-art schools buses to increase the safety of students.
"A number of parents do not consider schoolbuses safer than personal cars for their wards. If all the schools address this issue, we are sure many parents will be convinced to go for school buses," he said.
Citing the latest Karwa School buses as absolutely safe for students, Jraiw said that there are proposals to add more of such buses to its fleet.