The new vehicle, run by Dubai Taxi Corporation, has a range of smart features, including surveillance cameras and systems to ensure no child is left on board at the end of a journey and to monitor student movement while in transit. In case of emergency, the bus has an alert system that connects directly to a control centre.
The buses are also fitted with GPS tracking and an automatic fire suppression system. A radio frequency identification system makes it possible to electronically note which pupils are on board with the use of special tags.
DTC invested in advanced technology for its school buses "providing a safe and secure transportation environment for students during the school year,” Ammar Al Braiki, DTC's director of fleet operation, said.
Mr Al Braiki said the authority is keen to promote safety and responsibility among bus drivers and attendants by enrolling them on additional training courses.
“DTC also conducts drills on the handling of emergency cases and first aid to ensure that the team is ready and able to deal with any emergencies that may arise during the school transport process,” Mr Al Braiki said.
The UAE is committed to encouraging safety on the roads, most recently announcing a black points amnesty for safe drivers on the first day of school.
School buses in Abu Dhabi are also equipped with special cameras to identify drivers who do not stop when indicated by the vehicle's retractable stop sign, used when pupils are disembarking. Motorists who do not stop are fined Dh1,000 and receive 10 black points.
Safety incidents involving school buses are not common in Dubai, with the last reported accident having taken place in 2019, when two people were seriously hurt and more than a dozen pupils were injured in a major accident involving a school bus and a lorry.
A total of 15 pupils, along with the bus driver and the bus supervisor, were taken to Rashid Hospital for treatment following the crash.
The hospital said 14 of the pupils were released following treatment for minor injuries, while one child required further medical supervision.
The driver and supervisor suffered severe injuries, which the hospital said required “medical intervention”.