The additional buses purchased by Government, augmented by the use of “non-traditional operators”, will be adequate enough to meet the increased demand for public transportation when school begins in a few weeks.
Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, said her Ministry had already started “very productive” discussions with the Ministry of Transport, Works and Water Resources on the accommodation of students, scheduling, and safety protocols for the September 21 start of the new school year.
“Public transportation has been a major concern for everyone …. The intention is that with the additional buses purchased by Government, we are certainly in a better position than we were last year as it relates to providing vehicles for students to get to school….
“COVID has presented us with some opportunities, and one of those opportunities was that we were able to work with private operators to augment the Transport Board buses because at the time, we didn’t have the number of buses that were required. Therefore, we are able to augment public transport for our students on this occasion because we have already started the practice of working with the non-traditional operators and integrating them into the public transportation system,” Ms. Bradshaw explained.
She added that priority would be given to schools located in “the country areas”, which have longstanding issues with an inadequate supply of buses servicing their routes. Moving forward, Minister Bradshaw said, the Ministry intended to have a dedicated school bus service. Those discussions, she shared, had already started with the Transport Board.
She advised schools to provide timetables to the Ministry which will then be forwarded to the Transport Board, so it could schedule the buses required for the respective institutions throughout the day.
“In cases where schools have taken the decision that they may want to stagger the times, obviously we are going to need that information in order to accommodate them,” she stated.
Ms. Bradshaw said the Ministry of Transport, Works and Water Resources would be utilising additional safety protocols for the start of school, including measures to address the sanitisation of buses. “We recognise that with the increase in the number [of students], there would have to be additional protocols and there would have to be more cleaning of vehicles, and there may even have to be more locations where they will have to fog the vehicles before they are allowed back on the road to collect students or other passengers,” she informed.