PHILIPSBURG – United People’s Party (UPP) Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard said she is a strong proponent of regulating and properly structuring the school bus system, but she is against any move by Government to undercut existing school bus drivers.
Leonard said the bidding process for the supply of school bus services should only be open and available to existing school bus operators. This approach, she said, will safeguard the livelihood of those already in the business, instead of opening the way for new operators with, perhaps, deeper pockets and access to equipment to outbid the smaller local bus operators.
After the first contract term expires in 5 or 10 years, the bidding for new contracts could be open to other bus operators or new companies, MP Leonard suggested. This way the existing school bus operators will not be cut out of the process and will give the operators time and the ability to anticipate the end of their contract. “Instead of the inhumane way it is being handled now where operators have only three months to figure out their livelihood,” she stated.
“A school bus operator license allows for five buses, and the licenses out there have sustained families for decades and, in some cases, are the sole income for some families,” the MP commented. “The approach of the Education Minister to change the system in three months’ time is not a matter of just change and regulation, it is plain inhumane. It is not ok to affect people’s livelihood,” said the MP.
Photo by sxmislandtime.com