Vaz announces pilot programme for students’ rural transportation system
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Transport Minister Daryl Vaz has announced that the ministry will be launching a pilot program for a rural transportation system for students next year.
The Minister, who was speaking at Wednesday’s Post Cabinet Press Briefing discussing the reduction in bus fares for Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), said they have not yet decided on which parishes will be a part of the pilot programme. Vaz, noted, however, that the parishes chosen will be most suitable based on data collected.
“I have a meeting today which is for the presentation of the outline of the rural transportation system, specific for school children. Once that is made, I will then get the Ministry of Education involved and I would be in a position to announce when the pilot project starts because we have to do a pilot to make sure it works seamlessly,” Vaz said.
“It is my intention that by no later than the first quarter of next year, which is January to March, we should be in a position to roll out a pilot – and more details will be made available. But, it is a top priority. It has to be done right and it has to be done in collaboration with the existing bus and taxi operators, private sector and, of course, the Government agencies and ministries,” he added.
At the same time, the Minister used the opportunity to send condolence to the two St Petersfield High School students, 16-year-old Ajani Robinson and 14-year-old Zackeal McIntyre, both of Pinnock Charfton in Darliston, Westmoreland, who died in a car accident on Tuesday.
“Sincere condolences on behalf of the Government on the death of two school children yesterday, plus what transpired last week with the five. The truth is, it’s not only about the school children but about safety on the roads. Which, again, is something that is a top priority of the Government,” Vaz said.
Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Morgan, while adding to Vaz’s condolences, said the Government has spent a lot of time and resources in trying to improve road safety.
“It is the logic behind the new Road Traffic Act, it is the logic behind the new ticketing system. So, yes we are below last year in terms of road deaths, I think we are about 10 or 12 per cent. But, as we enter into the festive season where we usually see an uptick based on high use, based on parties, based on other events, we must implore commuters out there to be safe on the road, because though you may be speeding to your destination, you may also be speeding to your final destination,” Morgan said.
“So we are asking members of the commuting public to be safe on the road, look out for the children, look out for pedestrians, let us try to keep it more than 10 per cent below last year,” Morgan said.