JUTC, RSU take on students holding on to buses

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) and the Road Safety Unit (RSU) of the Ministry of Transport and Mining (MTM) have engaged the support of the Ministry of Education and Youth, as well as schools in downtown Kingston, to stop students from running alongside buses in the lay-bys.

Deidrie Hudson Sinclair, director of the ministry's Road Safety Unit (RSU), says that the ministry and JUTC take the safety of all the commuters seriously and want to eliminate the dangerous practice.

"We have engaged the Ministry of Education and Youth, as well as the schools in the area, to provide road safety intervention and will be doing so over the coming weeks," she said in a statement issued jointly by the JUTC and the MTM.

According to the JUTC's Corporate Communications Manager, Cecil Thoms, "In recent weeks, there have been reported incidents of students from schools in downtown, Kingston, running alongside the buses in the bus park, in an attempt to board and secure seating. This behaviour not only endangers the students' lives and safety, but also the safety of other passengers and road users."

He also pointed out that the practice is extremely dangerous and can lead to serious injury, or may even result in death.

"We witnessed this behaviour in the latter part of December [2022] and, unfortunately, it seems to continue even now. We cannot continue to ignore the issue, as to do so would be at our own peril," he said.

He noted that they are making an urgent appeal to school officials and parents "to speak with their children about the dangers of running after and alongside buses, and the importance of practising road safety while commuting to and from school".

The JUTC said that they are also being reminded to encourage students to stand on the kerb and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it. It also urged students to approach the bus from the front and wait for the driver to open the door, and do not push or shove other passengers.

This move to grab the students' attention is expected to spread to other congested sections of the Corporate Area, including Cross Roads and Half-Way-Tree, where multiple bus routes terminate.

By Balford Henry Observer senior writer balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

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