The little bus, our Deliverer


Akshaya Patra— blue vehicles, popularly called blue buses have become a treat to the eyes of the children of over 10,000 Government and Government aided schools across India. To the school children, the vehicle symbolises wholesome, fresh mid-day meals that comes every day to their school just for them.

Myriad tales of the Blue Deliverers

There are over 550 vehicles that leave the Akshaya Patra kitchens every morning carrying fresh, hot meals racing towards the schools. All the vehicles are of the same blue colour and look similar. The vehicles also have the name of the donor or the organisation that donated that particular vehicle, along with the logo on its outer cover. Most people know where these buses are headed and what they carry, when they see them pass on the roads. For children the meals on wheels is a beacon of hope as they know it brings food for them, that will ensure that they don’t have to suffer an empty stomach and can eat with dignity as it brings food that is rightfully theirs.

The blue vehicles, though of various make, have one purpose at Akshaya Patra— delivering unlimited, wholesome fresh and warm meals on time, every single school day to 1.39 million children. These customised vehicles are specially designed with insulated interiors to keep the food fresh, warm and hygienic. Fabricated racks in a honey comb design are affixed to ensure optimum utilisation of the space.


The vehicles are steam sterilised regularly and periodic chemical treatment is done with food grade chemicals to ensure they are clean, hygienic and any possible pest infestation is prevented. Special care is taken to ensure that every component in the food compartment of the vehicle is of the prescribed food grade. The cleanliness of the buses is monitored regularly.  Random third party checks are also done once in six months, where sample swabs are taken and sent to third party laboratories to check on various parameters.


The loading of food into the vehicles starts as early as 4 am every school day and the vehicle takes off by 4.30 a.m. in the city of Bangalore. The last of the vehicles sets to course by 9 am, at the latest. The routes of the vehicles are planned based on the proximity of schools, lunch break timings, capacity of the vehicles and number of schools en route.

How does it work in Bangalore?

In a city like Bangalore where traffic is quite cumbersome and many times unpredictable, many things need to be considered while delivering the food. Routes are studied and the dispatch times are checked regularly. The aim of the drivers is to ensure that the food is delivered on time; hence preventive action is taken for routes where traffic is quite an issue. The vehicles leave early, keep track of the traffic jams and move on to less congested routes when necessary. On occasions when the vehicles are caught in a nasty jam and it seems impossible to make it on time, the coordinators are ready with a backup plan. A different driver shares a bit of the load by delivering to some of the schools on the list, so that the driver who is stuck will only cater to the rest. This ensures that all the schools receive the meals on time. GPS is also fixed in many of the vehicles as an aid to the drivers when needed.


Bad roads and bad parking practices also cause issues on a day to day basis. However, our drivers are always ready to do what it takes. When entering small roads where vehicles are parked blocking the way, our drivers simply pull their socks up and physically move the vehicles so that they can quickly get back on their track. All vehicles, come what may, reach the schools at least 15 minutes prior to lunch time!

Such is the tale of the Akshaya Patra vehicles and the triumph of our drivers and we appreciate their commitment.

Without the vehicles Akshaya Patra would not have been able to reach out to 1.39 million children every day; and hence we would like to thank all those philanthropic donors who have recognised the need for these real deliverers, the vehicles and supported us.

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