Question:

I am concerned about the safety of pupils who travel on school buses and made to stand. What are the laws relating to this and how can drivers be educated on this matters. It seems to me a person standing is likely to suffer serious injury.

Please can you advise on this matter and what can be done to help prevent serious injuries on buses.

Answer:

The legislation allows for standing passengers in buses. It caters for minimum floor space, straps, etc.

Standing persons

Reg 263. (1) No person shall operate on a public road a bus in which a person is standing—

(a) on any upper deck, steps, stairs or open platform;
(b) in the cross passageway referred to in regulation 255; or
(c) in any area of a bus first registered after 04 September 2006 with a ceiling height of less than one comma seven five metres except when entering or leaving such bus and of an operating licence in which a person is permitted to stand.

(2) The maximum number of standing persons which may be carried in a bus shall be calculated in accordance with the formula—

in which formula—

(a) “A” represents the total clear floor space in square metres of the bus;
(b) “B” represents the total clear floor space in square metres of the areas referred to in subregulation (1); and
(c) “C” represents the figure zero comma one two five being the clear floor space in square metres which shall be available for each standing person. Provided that in the case of a rapid transport bus or rapid transport bus-train this figure shall be zero comma one six

(3) A bus carrying standing persons shall be equipped with sufficient hand straps, handrails or grab handles for all standing persons.
(4) No person shall on a public road operate a minibus for reward in which a person is permitted to stand except if the provisions of subregulations (1), (2) and (3) which apply with the necessary changes, are complied with.

Additional comments:

[That is the legal situation, but only in respect of commuter buses intended for short trips. They also don’t have seatbelts as in long distance coaches.]

Also view:

School Bus Safety

Bus Industry in South Africa and Road Safety

Bus Safety / Truck Safety

New standard for fire suppression systems in engine compartments of buses and coaches

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