Dubai: The UAE’s biggest school bus operator has hiked bus fees, citing higher operational costs and adherence to tighter safety standards.
School Transport Services (STS), which transports 72,000 students every day on 1,800 buses for 65 schools in the UAE, has raised monthly bus fees by around Dh30 to Dh40.
With the Dh30 increase, monthly bus fees at The Kindergarten Starters (KGS) in Dubai, for example, will vary between Dh400 to Dh440, depending on the bus route.
Showing past STS circulars, KGS parents said the hike is the biggest since 2014, when monthly bus fees went up by Dh10. In 2015, the fees increased by Dh20 per month. The latest hike of Dh30 per month surfaced earlier this month in a letter to parents. Parents pay bus fees for 10 months of schooling in a year.
A KGS parent, who only gave his initials, M.N., said: “Bus fees keep going up almost every year. This keeps adding to the financial burden on parents. If it increases again, what can we do? We feel powerless to do anything about it because no one is addressing our concerns.”
Another parent, who did not wish to be identified, said she does not believe the hike is reasonable, saying “we are getting the same facilities and services as we had last year”.
Col (Retd) Augustine, managing director of STS, said in a statement to Gulf News that the bus fees have been increased due to steeper operational and fuel costs, and to maintain high safety standards.
He said: “The safety and well-being of our passengers are of the utmost importance to us. Consequently, we have invested in various safety features, such as advanced electronic attendance system, monitoring of all buses from the control room, video surveillance system, sleeping child check button, etc; creating a very high benchmark in the school bus industry. Our recently introduced STS App provides complete peace of mind to the parents.”
He added: “In order to maintain the current safe, reliable and efficient transport service for students, with the increased cost of operation and fuel price, we have made a slight adjustment in the transportation fees.”
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