More than 3,500 school bus drivers have pledged to drive safely in Dubai. The drivers – of 15 nationalities, working at 82 schools in Dubai – signed and stamped their oaths on a safety pledge sign during an event held at GEMS Heritage School. The engagement sign is almost the size of a school bus and has been designed to constantly remind drivers to drive safely. Created in 2008, STS now transports more than 81,000 students to and from school every day.
The event marked the eighth anniversary of School Transportation Services (STS) Appreciation Day which saw 1,200 drivers form a human flag to celebrate this year’s Year of Tolerance. STS drivers and bus keepers formed a huge human mosaic at the annual event. Brazilian carnival artists were also part of the flag and the first to take a stand in the formation of the flag. Bus guards and drivers then joined the gang wearing red, green, black and white t-shirts, to form the flag.
“Our drivers come from diverse backgrounds and the human flag is an example of our appreciation for the UAE’s readiness for tolerance. The idea is to work together in a peaceful way and to bond with people of various origins and nationalities, ”said STS CEO Steve Burnell.
“We have such an amazing team at STS and it’s great that we can have events like this to show our appreciation for all their hard work. Our family is made up of so many dedicated people who help us achieve safe, timely and smart transportation and we celebrated these achievements as part of the Year of Tolerance 2019. ”
Burnell added that the human flag was created to encourage peace and tolerance among STS staff as they come from diverse backgrounds and beliefs. “Our team includes people from five different religions who have all come together to pledge their support for tolerance and bonding. “
The staff also enjoyed the games and music during the day. Some even participated in an “STS Got Talent” to showcase their talents. The winner received 3,000 Dh.
STS pilot Amshid Khan said: “I feel lucky to be part of the human mosaic. It’s a life experience for me, something I would never have had at home. I had a lot of fun on our Appreciation Day and enjoyed everything the team organized for us.
Another driver, Sheed Rehman of the International University School, said: “I came back to my childhood asking myself to wave for the formation of the flag. I will always remember this year of tolerance all my life. The formation of the human mosaic was something I had seen before and it was a new experience for me.
Prabhakaran said regular steps must be taken to ensure the safety of schoolchildren in the UAE. “Efforts such as signing a pledge sign go a long way in empowering bus drivers and keepers to remain responsible and fulfill their primary duty of caring for schoolchildren.”