(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Amna Pervaiz Rao | The Peninsula
Doha: With the opening of schools, parents' complaints about school transportation have started resurfacing as they express concerns over fares, timings and safety of the system.
The Peninsula spoke to a number of parents and officials and found that a majority of parents were facing problems in finding affordable and convenient school transportation.
'I recently shifted to Najma. Earlier, when I used to live near Qatar Foundation I faced a lot of timing issue which created a bad routine for my children. They used to leave home at 5am and arrived home back at 3pm. To get rid of this problem we shifted to Al Najma where my kids come back at 2pm. They charge QR315 per child which is not affordable as we live in the middle of the city but due to transportation issue we (parents) are left with no choice, said a mother of three daughters studying in Bright Future International School.
While transport fares of international schools are very high, parents are unable to understand how to cope with the work routine and children's transportation issues, particularly the fare.
A parent of a student studying at Gems American Academy told The Peninsula: 'The school transportation does not offer door-to-door service. We live near Landmark Mall and we have a specific dropping point where all other parents gather to drop their children, which is a hectic duty as well. Moreover, we pay QR 700 for each kid, due to safety issues we don't prefer depending on private taxis.
'The school provides a lot of safety assurance, which is the only reason we manage to bear the fare and send our children using school transportation, she added.
Interaction with a transport coordinator showed the other side of the story and he explained the previous and present records of their transportation services.
'Our school is located in Al-Wakra, we provide door-to-door service to children living in Wakra which also requires time. The service we provide gives a remarkable security assurance; we regularly check seat-belts, mark attendance and keep an eye on each student which is our responsibility. Last year, we received three complaints in total from parents, but if the bus is late or stuck in traffic we inform the parents in advance, said a transport coordinator of a school.
'We charge QR700 per month for each kid which is comparatively cheap as the private taxis ask for QR2,500 per month per child, which does not include safety of the children at all. The charges that we get are approved by the Ministry, which is not applied by the school itself, he noted.
A few Indian schools provide satisfactory transportation to the students and parents without any complaints of fare and timings, which makes the school transportation trustworthy.
A student from Birla Public School said: 'I have been availing the school transport since 6th standard. We have never been late to school in the past few years, and only on the first day of school we reach a bit late due to the traffic hustle on roads as everyone comes back to their daily routine. Our school charges QR300 per month; we leave home at 6am and reach home before 3pm. The bus we use makes the journey to home enjoyable due to our friends.