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Put school buses in private hands

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Fri Apr 19, 2013

Editor: School has once again reopened. It is hoped that there would be a solution to the transportation of children to school, both to attend the schools in the North Leeward district and also for those attending schools in capital, Kingstown.{{more}}

A careful examination of the operation of both the government school bus that transports children to Kingstown and the privately owned school bus would reveal that the fare charged can in no way be enough for the maintenance of the bus.

Each child travelling in the aforementioned buses are required to pay one dollar as bus fare. While this may seem commendable, it is a charge that is not enough to maintain the cost of operation of the buses. This fare can barely meet the fuel cost per day. Therefore, it is safe to say that the owners would be hard-pressed to find money to maintain the vehicle and also pay for the chauffeur. No wonder when these buses need brakes or other parts they have to be parked up. When that happens, the children are the ones who suffer.

I am aware that at such a fare, it is easier for parents to send their children to school. However, the money must be found somewhere to supplement the loss encountered from the operation costs. This, we have seen, is hard to get in these hard economic times. When the bus is off the road, parents have to resort once again to the regular vans which charge a much higher price than what they are accustomed to paying the school bus. These vans charge according to the schedule.

Therefore, I recommend a privatisation of the school buses. In doing so, proper maintenance will be realized, since the owners would charge the scheduled price and so would be able to cover the maintenance cost. Also, more persons should take up the contract to carry schoolchildren. By doing so, it would release the responsibility of the government in managing and maintaining the school buses and at the same time children would be able to have more reliable transportation to get to and from school.

Kennard King

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