Transport Ministry to Roll Out Service for Children in Rural Areas

The Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing is planning to roll out a programme for private transport operators to provide a reliable, efficient service for children in rural areas.

Making the disclosure on August 28, Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies said this will entail getting children to and from school, “without parents wondering whether any abuse is taking place…for example, exposure to lewd music.”

Dr. Davies noted that this forms part of measures being designed to provide a school bus system for rural students. “It’s a work in progress, and soon we will put out more specifics in terms of the development of this system,” he said.     

The Minister was speaking at a certification ceremony for participants in the Public Passenger Vehicle Driver and Conductor Training Programme, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, where some 541 persons received certificates for having successfully completed the course.

Meanwhile, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education, Radley Reid, said having been exposed to the course, operators are expected to provide significantly improved service.

Mr. Reid told the drivers and conductors that, “you have a very important and critical role of shaping the lives of thousands of students who commute daily…you have a great responsibility to lead the way to stop the playing of loud and lewd music, and not to promote sexual immorality on public transport.

“You have a responsibility to our students so that they can, during that travel time, study, read, reflect…you  have a wonderful opportunity, by your own example, to reduce accidents, and to create safe streets for driving and walking,” he told them.

The course participants included 261 drivers and conductors from the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region; 61 from the North Eastern Transport Region; 120 from the Western Transport Region; and 99 from the Southern Transport Region.

The Public Passenger Vehicle Driver and Conductor Training Programme, which was first conceptualised and designed in 2004, in collaboration with HEART, covers the laws governing the transport sector, customer service, conflict resolution and defensive driving techniques.

To date, some 5,000 drivers and conductors have been exposed to customer service skills.