Minibuses will boost school transport
A fleet of minibuses is to be used on school runs to supplement traditional buses.
Minister of Transport Walter Roban said the move would help “alleviate the pressure on the regular bus fleet” which is in a “state of disrepair” that had “reduced the number of buses available to school and commuter routes”.
Mr Roban was speaking at a press conference as the island’s youngsters prepare to star the new public school year next week.
It was revealed last month that 72 out of the island’s fleet of 105 buses were off the roads after the breakdown of six vehicles in a single morning.
Mr Roban said 54 buses are currently out of service.
Mr Roban said the minibuses would cover the traditional school bus routes and would only be used to pick up children.
They will be contracted through the Bermuda Minibus Association.
Mr Roban added: “The minibuses will be dispatched from the east and west ends of the island in the mornings and from CedarBridge and Berkeley in the afternoons.”
After last month’s breakdowns, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation said that overheating of engines was a significant factor in problems with the buses.
Mr Roban said that modifications ti improve engine ventilation were being made and it was hoped that would help avoid similar problems in the future.
He added: “But understand, as we have been repeating over the last recent weeks, we have an aged fleet/
“Investment is required. It is underinvestment over recent years that has contributed to the challenges that staff face.”
Mr Roban also announced that he expected that Bermuda would take possession of four new buses “within a few months”.
He added the extra buses would help “relieve some of the more recent purchases and the stress on those buses that are now being worked on everyday to be kept going”.
And he said moves had been made to buy more vehicles and introduce a regular buying schedule “if finance permits”.
Mr Roban also thanked the Bermuda Industrial Union and its members in the Department of Public Transportation for their work with management.
He added that the BIU had been “crucial” to finding solutions in recent months.