Students travelling by bus can sigh in relief: 60 more buses will be on the roads in the morning and in the afternoon until the end of the year. The predicament that arose yesterday – the first day of the second term of the educational cycle when many students could not get a seat in school buses – will now hopefully be avoided; the aim of the ministry of transport is to prevent any transport problem for students after school hours. Operators of contract buses have thus been contacted by the ministry to discuss a 6-month contract to provide for the additional buses. This is one of the temporary solutions while waiting for the National Transport Authority NTA to bring in new buses.
The Minister of Transport, Nando Bodha, announced that the number of school buses will go from 450 to 510 in the morning. After school hours, 660 buses will be at the disposal of students instead of the usual 600. The minister wishes to avoid the mess that resulted yesterday when bus operators made do with the usual number of buses while also abiding by the new regulation of “no standing” in school buses.
Contract buses will be part of the temporary solution – thus will the 60 additional buses be supplied. The contract will last for 6 months. A special desk has been set up at the NTA for the registration of interested operators.
By the end of this year, the NTA is expected to have renewed its fleet of buses such that there will be no need for the additional 60 buses.
The minister also addressed the issue of free transport for the elderly. According to him, the system is not “user-friendly”. He argued that many old people cannot get onboard buses, while yet others face another problem: drivers do not always stop for the sake of old people.