Forty-four per cent of the 125,830 pupils in 305 public schools in Abu Dhabi take a bus to class, a survey by the Department of Transport found.
The market structure and survey feedback in 2010 and 2011 also found that 72 per cent of the 166,818 pupils in 177 private schools were bus users.
The survey was used to determine the preferred mode of transport for children at school, the reasons why they chose it and the barriers to, and concerns about, bus transport.
The key requests and concerns among pupils were overcrowding, improving the air conditioning, entertainment and cleanliness, safer driving and cheaper fares.
The DoT inspected 30 of the 1,520 public school buses, and found that two were unfit for service. An inspection of 253 of the 1,936 private school buses showed 11 unsuitable vehicles. Inspections showed vandalised and unsafe seats, closed emergency exits, barred windows and buses that did not stop in the proper place.
To regulate school transport requirements and standards for all Abu Dhabi-based school buses, the DoT, the Abu Dhabi Education Council and Abu Dhabi Police highlighted the responsibilities of schools, school bus operators, drivers, attendants and parents and guardians.
* Ramona Ruiz