EghtesadOnline: Providing students with decent and safe transportation services has been a long-standing challenge, especially in Tehran Province, where 2.4 million students live.
With the start of the new academic year on Sept. 23, officials seemed to be aware of school transportation problems this year and acted more decisively. To do so, they have introduced a smart system to boost the quality of services.
According to IRNA, to streamline and monitor school transportation services, the ministries of interior, roads and education designed an online platform titled Sepand for nationwide use via the website Irtusepand.ir.
Salman Samani, the spokesman of Interior Ministry, told reporters that all the drivers and private transport companies wishing to operate as school transporters should register with the system, Financial Tribune reported.
After registration, the driver's physical and mental health is checked. Then following the technical testing of their vehicles, they will be allowed to operate as school drivers.
Eligible drivers will receive identification signs, including a special label and a QR code, in the form of labels that could be taped on to their vehicles.
"This is to offer safe transportation for students and prevent traffic accidents," he added.
Technical inspection license is a mandatory document, attesting that a vehicle conforms to emission and safety standards. Regular tests guarantee the safety of vehicles against probable accidents and help reduce toxic emissions released into the air.
To accelerate this process, three technical inspection centers in Tehran have been designated to operate until Oct. 22 to check the would-be school transport vehicles.
According to Tehran Taxi Organization, the number of vehicles and transport companies registered with the system has reached 13,400.
Samani further said parents and schools will also be able to keep an eye on the drivers, both through the website and smartphone applications available for download on Sepand’s website.
They can scan the vehicles' QR codes with their smartphones to get information about the driver, his working permit and the transport company employing the driver through Sepand.
This information could also be accessed by entering the school transport vehicle’s license plate on the website.
“In case of any problem, parents and schools can report the offending driver or state the problem on the Sepand website,” Samani said.
To improve the safety of students, in addition to the online system, TTO and the Traffic Police also monitor school transport services periodically.
In addition to taxis and passenger vans, buses have also been arranged in Tehran to deliver transport services to school and university students.
Since a month before the start of the academic year, urban managers in the Iranian capital city had been making preparations to facilitate bus commutation and ensure the safety of school and university students.
Tehran Bus Company earmarked special buses to provide students with transportation services.
Peiman Sanandaji, the head of TBC, told Mehr News Agency that these buses offer services at more than 40 terminals across the capital.
“The buses, bearing a special sign, are only used for transporting school and university students on part-time shifts,” he said, stressing that the general public, who are not allowed to get on board these buses, should use the regular buses.
Students can also use special electronic tickets with a 50% discount on bus fares, which can be purchased from Tehran Municipality’s website, Tehran.ir.