STUDENTS and teachers at Holmwood Technical High School in Manchester have welcomed an agreement between the school's
board and a select group of bus operators to transport students attending the school as of Monday.
The announcement of the agreement came yesterday, exactly one week after four of the school's students died in a three-vehicle crash on the Chudleigh main road in the parish. The horrible incident was the latest in a series of crashes involving buses transporting Holmwood students.
"I feel really good that we have this bus system," grade 10 student Abigail Johnson told the Jamaica Observer, yesterday.
She said the school currently has an arranged bus system with a limited number of buses which she uses. She believes that more "arranged buses will give students more choices".
Dwayne Thompson, another student who uses the current system, agreed.
"It is a good thing, because
too many students are dying,"
Teachers were equally pleased.
"I am a mother not only to my two children but to all children. Having the students being brought to school safely is of paramount importance to me. It will put the parents' mind at ease and the teachers. A key thing also is that we can manage what takes place on these buses in terms of the material to which students are exposed," said Patricia Reid-Clarke, who is in charge of the reading programme at the school.
Judith East, who teaches
English language, English literature and social studies, said the
system will take the burden of worry off the parents.
"At least we know that we will have more responsible persons transporting our children to school. Parents will know exactly what
bus their children are on so they don't have to worry," she told
Yesterday, Board Chairman Ruel Crawford said the latest agreement spawned from discussions with stakeholders on Tuesday. He said, under the new arrangement, three special hubs have been created for access to these buses -- 10 buses for the Mandeville hub and two buses each for the Albert Town and Cave Valley hubs.
"These specially marked buses will provide transportation for the approximately 800 Holmwood students," he explained.
Crawford also said that the school's administration, in conjunction with the Transport Authority and the police, will monitor the system to ensure that Holmwood students travel on the designated buses.
The method of collection of bus fares, he said, "will be refined by Friday of this week when the temporary bus service offered by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company comes to an end".