Consider women school drivers to transport girls

Muscat, March 8 – Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education (MoE), has issued an order to regulate the school transport system.
It strictly prohibits any contract with owners and drivers who do not fulfil the conditions stipulated in the list of regulations. The decision states provision of women drivers for transporting grade 1-4 girl students whenever possible. The owner should not use tinted windows or put stickers or curtains that block visibility. He should install an automated system for this if the directorate requests for it, and provide the bus with an electronic board showing school data and contact details.
The decision states that a school bus should not be more than twelve-years old, its capacity should be appropriate for the number of students, meets the conditions of security and safety made by the ministry, and it should have an operating card issued by the Ministry of Transport. It also states that the minimum distance for the provision of school transport between home and school should be 2 km. In some exceptional cases, with the approval of the ministry, the distance can be less than 2 km.
The decision says that the driver of school bus must not hold any jobs either in the private or government sector, should have at least five years of driving experience, and his age must not be less than 23 years and not more than 60 years. The driver must not use mobile phone while driving.
The bus drivers should attend training programmes related to school transportation organised by the ministry and must wear the Omani traditional uniform during work. The regulations stipulate that the driver must also not leave the vehicle running while disembarking, and he must ensure that students use the magnetic card for automatic identification if the system is available in the transport system.
The owner is obliged to drive the bus by himself or by a hired person at least a year, as per regulations. He must also abide by the proper maintenance of the bus, including the tyres, to keep it in good condition for daily use.
In the event of a bus breakdown, the owner is obliged to provide a substitute or the school has the right to enter into contract with other operator. The owner should not replace the driver without a written approval from the school or directorate.
The decision is based on Royal Decree 37/2008 that defines the functions of the Ministry of Education and ministerial decree 323/2008 that regulates student transportation system, including operations that are on contract basis.