Roll out rural school buses
THE EDITOR, Sir:
There needs to be collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport to solve the transportation woes faced by students in rural areas. For too long, students have been travelling in less-than-ideal circumstances in public passenger vehicles and illegal, or 'robot', taxis, which greatly compromise safety.
In rural areas, taxi drivers are carrying three passengers in the front of the vehicle and at least five in the back seat (while they carry as many primary-school students in the trunk) in a car that is licensed and insured to carry a maximum of four passengers. If we are serious about protecting our children, we cannot allow them to endanger their lives in this manner.
PROVIDING QUALITY SERVICE
There needs to be an islandwide rural transportation system in place to transport students to school. This, I believe, will reduce the unnecessary injuries and deaths of our students on our roads.
The taxi associations also need to play their role in assisting with road safety. Their existence should not primarily be about advocating for increased fares, but should also encompass providing quality service. This can be done by educating taxi drivers on how to carry and care for passengers. It should be compulsory for all taxi drivers to attend seminars in customer service and road safety.
Similar to what happens in the Ministry of Health, where food vendors must be issued with a food handler's permit to be able to operate, no taxi driver should operate without a road-safety permit, which is only issued after one completes certain hours of seminars. This will make taxi drivers aware of the dangers involved in overloading and speeding. Consequently, road crashes will be reduced.