As per the UAE Government strategy (2011 – 2013) and the general seven principles which will direct the government work, the first of which is represented in supporting the federal government’s role in setting the effective legislations, drafting and enforcing the integrated policies and in enforcement of those policies and priorities, and as a part of the NTA’s role in UAE transport development, the National Transport Authority, in cooperation with the strategic partners, is currently studying the regulation of school transport in UAE, aiming to provide a high standard transport infrastructure for the safety and convenience of students. Moreover, NTA plays an important role in effectuating the group transport system in UAE.
The most prominent challenges, confronting us all in this concern due to the UAE increasing economic and demographic growth, are represented in the increase of the number of students, schools and school buses, the maintenance of students’ safety and health and
providing them with safe transport in accordance with the safety standards through buses characterized with new specifications and standards
Therefore, NTA cooperated with the strategic partners to study and evaluate those challenges and obstacles in order to find appropriate solutions in compliance with the best international systems and practices. The most important solution proposed for overcoming those challenges, is represented in setting a program for developing and improving the school transport system in UAE, including the development of the standards and specifications of the school buses, in addition to the development of the federal policies and legislations across UAE as a first step towards this direction.
NTA 2011 plan includes activities and programs for regulating the school transport in UAE which will be completed by the end of 2011, i.e. the development of the standards and specifications of school buses, the development of federal policies and legislations for school transport and the completion of the school buses drivers training requirements guide.
As a first step towards such NTA began, in cooperation with its strategic partners, the first stage of the program, which is the development of the standards and specifications of school buses. The project includes the specifications of buses internal structure (the width of the internal passage, capacity, seats specifications, and floorings) as well as the external specifications of buses (color, emergency exits, doors and emergency equipment). It also includes the chassis specifications (the brakes, transmission, exhaust system, fuel system, speed control system, and firefighting system).
Many steps were taken in this concern, including the committee that was constituted to set the school buses specifications in UAE by virtue of the Decree No. 12 of 2010 issued by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works and Chairman of the National Transport Authority.
Several coordinating meetings and workshops were held with the strategic partners in the local and federal authorities, including, but not limited to, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and the local educational authorities, e.g. Abu Dhabi Education Council and
Knowledge and Human Development Authority, in addition to other local educational authorities such as Emirates Standards and Metrology Authority, as well as the local transport authorities such as the Department of Transport and Road & Transport Authority, in addition to the service providers of Emirates Transport and Sharjah Transport for reviewing their requirements and visions.
Moreover, a review was made on the local experiments (current/ under preparation) for the Road & Transport Authority in Dubai and the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi with respect to the regulating of school transport.
Many national, regional and international visits were made for benchmarking, the last of which were made to China and Korea, in addition to the information collected from Australia and Malaysia.
Many drafts were made for the project of school buses specifications project based on the requirements and visions of authorities; and referred to such authorities for having their final visions. The final version was referred to Emirates Standards and Metrology Authority.
The school vehicles specifications project was approved by the Board of Directors of Emirates Standards and Metrology Authority; and referred to the Cabinet for the issuance of required decree, so that it becomes a UAE obligatory standard (for the governmental and private schools in UAE).