Regulations under scrutiny following deadly clash between school shuttle companies in Istanbul
ISTANBULThe Istanbul Provincial Directorate of National Education has submitted a report to the Education Ministry asking for school shuttle regulations to be revised following a recent fatal clash between shuttles of separate companies in the premises of a primary school in Istanbul’s Ümraniye district, daily Habertürk reported on Sept. 7.
The source of the problem is pointed to the seventh article of the 2007-dated shuttle regulations, which says parents and parent-teacher associations of schools have the authority to agree with any school shuttle company regarding their children’s transportation.
Education Ministry officials told daily Habertürk that the relevant article deactivates the role of the ministry regarding the transportation issue, prompting a competition among the shuttle companies to win over the parents as well as parent-teacher associations. What the associations, however, look at is not the competency of the driver or the firm but rather who or which company “make the most donation,” according to the daily.
The biggest competition among companies is reportedly seen in Istanbul, with up to four companies lining up to offer their services.
Meanwhile, a group of school bus drivers from the Istanbul Shuttle Association protested the fatal clash on Sept. 5 between different student shuttle companies, which had led to one death and two injuries, on Istanbul’s busy D-100 highway, demanding that new regulations needed to be adopted for such fights not to occur again, Doğan News Agency reported.
In a press statement late on Sept. 7, the association’s head, Cuma Tekin, offered his condolences to the deceased shuttle staff. “The education and transportation ministries need to review the relevant decisions of the Center for Transportation Coordination [UKOME], school shuttle service regulations, and regulations on school-parent associations. New regulations need to be adopted,” he said.
“The problems the shuttle workers experience in student transportation need to be solved immediately. Such incidents that happen in front of little children and their families can be prevented only with the law,” Tekin said.
Following the association’s press statement, school bus drivers formed a convoy on the D-100 highway in the direction of the Kadıköy district and honked their horns as a form of protest, jamming the traffic for a while.
On Sept. 5, personnel of the two shuttle companies arrived at a primary school in Istanbul’s Ümraniye district to register students to their own companies. But an argument that erupted between them then descended into physical violence and the firing of guns.
The clash, in which one was killed and two were injured, took place in front of school personnel, students and parents at the start of the school year. A total of eight people involved in the clash were detained on Sept. 6.
Detention warrants were also issued for four other suspects in connection to the incident. One suspect, identified only as Eyüp A., was caught on Sept. 7.