Make sure your child is transported to school safely
To ensure the safety of learners while they’re transported to and from crèche or school, transporters who are paid to transport learners must adhere to specific regulations which are set out in the National Land Transport Act.
Any person who's paid to transport children to and from crèche or school, must abide by the regulations – irrespective of contracts with the school or private arrangements with parents or caregivers.
At no time may a child be transported with a bakkie, delivery van, or truck.
If you want to charge for providing scholar transport you must apply for an operating licence from the Provincial Regulatory Entity. A licence costs R300 and is valid for 2 years.
Vehicles used for learner transport must:
- be less than 12 years old,
- be registered and licensed in the Western Cape,
- be tested at a roadworthy centre every 6 months,
- have a valid operating licence,
- have a special vehicle fitness certificate,
- clearly stipulate the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle,
- have a seatbelt for every child and a car seat for those younger than 3 years old,
- be clearly marked as a "scholar transport" vehicle,
- have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit,
- have a passenger list of all of the children who are being transported, and
- have copies of each child’s birth certificate or identity document (ID) in case of an accident.
If you transport children to school you must have:
- a professional driving permit,
- an ID indicating your name, ID number, type of vehicle you're permitted to drive, and the name of the owner or holder of the operating licence,
- a first aid certificate,
- an advanced or defensive driving qualification,
- another responsible adult accompanying the driver when you transport pre-primary and primary school learners, or learners with physical, mental or other special needs,
- a letter of agreement with the school or letter from the principal explaining the need for the service, or a letter from the parents – copies of these must be in the vehicle at all times,
- a description of the route to be travelled, and
- a valid tax clearance certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
When somebody operates illegal scholar transport services they’ll be fined and their vehicles will be impounded. Should a vehicle be impounded for the fourth time, it will become the property of the State.
The following fines are applicable:
- R2 500 when a vehicle is impounded,
- R7 000 to have an impounded vehicle released for a first offence,
- R10 000 to have an impounded vehicle released for a second offence, and
- R15 000 to have an impounded vehicle released for a third offence.
Principals must remember that they should provide a safe area where children can be dropped off and picked up from school. This pick-up and drop-off zone must be situated off-street if the school is on a busy road.
Parents, principals, and interested parties should contact their ward councillors for more information about the briefing sessions at their local schools.
The Western Cape Education Department Learner Transport Scheme
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) provides transport to learners living in rural areas who live 5 km or more from their nearest school, and where public transport and hostel accommodation aren’t available.
The department’s Learner Transport Scheme provides transport for about 58 000 learners on 557 routes, in mainly rural areas.
The WCED applies strict conditions to bus contracts to ensure learner safety, and measures to monitor compliance. These include the following:
- Contractors must provide an efficient, safe and reliable means of transport in line with the requirements of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and in the best interest of the learners, the school and the WCED.
- Contractors may only use buses registered for specific routes.
- Contractors must submit buses registered for specific routes to roadworthy inspections every 6 months.
- Every learner on the bus must have an appropriate seat and no learner must be allowed to stand when transported to and from school.
- All approved contractors must at all times comply with the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act 93 of 1996) and relevant regulations.
- Contractors must ensure at all times that each driver is in possession of an appropriate, valid driver’s licence and Public Driver’s Permit and that every bus has a valid operating licence.
- The principal or his or her delegate must conduct a visual inspection to ascertain the condition of all vehicles transporting learners, at least once a month, using the department’s official checklist.
- Any vehicle suspected of being unroadworthy must be reported immediately by the principal via the official reporting lines to the district director, who must immediately report on the condition of the vehicle to the directorate responsible for contract management of the WCED, and the traffic authorities.
- The buses can be substituted only for valid reasons with the written approval of the principal and confirmation by the district director, even in instances of temporary substitution. The replacement vehicle shall be subject to a roadworthy test, at a designated Vehicle Testing Centre, at a date and time stipulated by the WCED.
- Busses registered for the scheme must carry a sticker carrying the provincial government logo and our Safe Schools Call Centre number (0800 45 46 47). We encourage members of the public to report any concerns to the call centre.
Learner safety is very important to the WCED and vehicles transporting learners must be inspected on a regular basis. The school needs to complete a vehicle inspection checklist regularly to ensure that vehicles used for transporting learners comply with the following criteria:
- The vehicle is approved as indicated on the contract.
- The vehicle must arrive on time in the morning and afternoon.
- The vehicle isn’t allowed to overload (more learners being transported than the maximum seating capacity of the vehicle).
- The driver of the vehicle must be in possession of a valid driver’s licence and Public Driver’s Permit.
- The vehicle must have a valid operating licence. This document must be available in the vehicle.
- The brake lights of the vehicle must be in working order.
- The headlights must be in working order.
- The indicators must be in working order.
- The door/s must open and close properly.
- The window panes must be complete and the windows need to open and close properly.
- The seats in the vehicle needs to be firmly mounted and in good condition.
- The licence and roadworthy expiry dates as indicated on the licence disk on the windscreen must be up to date.
- The general condition of the floor, bodywork and tyres of the vehicle must be in good condition.
For more information please have a look at the Western Cape Education Department Policy on Learner Transport Schemes or read the City of Cape Town's Transport Autority's Scholar Transport Guide.