Transport sector ready for the new academic year despite issues
Members of the transport sector say they are ready for the new academic year, despite the many issues plaguing the sector.
The new school year starts next Monday, September 5.
IRIE FM News spoke to members of the transport sector who say they are prepared for the turnout of the nation’s teachers, students, and parents in the coming week.
Despite the delay in the arrival of 50 new buses, Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Managing Director Paul Abrahams is expressing confidence in the current fleet.
The buses were expected by the end of this month, but are now expected to arrive later this year or early 2023.
Mr. Abrahams says while the new buses will not be operational come next week, work has been taking place to ensure that the fleet is ready.
The assurance follows concerns by the opposition of a pending crisis and severe chaos in commuter movement for the start of a new academic year, which cited a rapid decline in the bus run-out at the JUTC over the summer holidays.
Mr. Abrahams says the island’s taxi operators will meet any shortfall.
Over in the western end of the island, President of the Montego Bay Taxi Association, Deon Chance, said his members are ready and waiting for school to resume.
He said while a number of taxi operators left the system, the sector has not been greatly impacted.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) Donald Hanson says the system is on track.
The JRC’s ‘back on track’ school train service was launched last December, with the first trip taking place earlier this year.
Mr. Hanson says the service will now serve students outside of the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH).
The service will operate with trips into Spanish Town from Old Harbour and Linstead.
The JUTC will then bus the students from the trains into the various schools.
Schools to be directly impacted by the service are Jonathan Grant High, St. Jago High, Jose Marti High, and St. Catherine High.
The cashless system is expected to exceed last school term’s record of carrying some 400 students for a single day.
Mr. Hanson states that while plans are being put in motion to include the general public the focus is now on the nation’s children.