Private minibuses get children to school reliably and safely
By Tim Smith
The school run can add strain to the busy life of any working parent – but you can relieve some of that rush-hour pressure at no cost by taking advantage of public buses or private minibuses . A network of free private minibuses has developed in the past couple of years to provide a reliable alternative to public transport, helping ensure children can get to their destination with a minimum of fuss.
The Bermuda Minibus Association boasts a total of 42 large buses and 28 smaller buses – including more than 1,600 seats when capacity is not reduced by COVID-19 restrictions – to cover all school routes from St George’s to Dockyard.
Ronue Cann, the association’s president, said the system, which has been subsidized by the Bermuda Government, has allowed children to feel more comfortable than when they relied purely on public buses.
Mr Cann operated his ABC Minibus from Hamilton to West End Primary School throughout the past school year, which allowed him to build a rapport with the children he delivered to school every day.
Our job is to protect and get these children to their destination,” he said.
“We want to do this for our community and kids and parents. The school knows me. If my bus is running late, I will call them.
“Those kids are going to be safe on a minibus. They know my bus, they know me. It’s a solid, smooth operation.” He added: “Put your kids on the minibus – it’s free. We have buses coming from every angle. The buses are strictly for children, and you are not dealing with the general public.”
The Minibus Association will advertise details on how to use the system in the coming weeks, but Mr Cann advised any parents to contact the Ministry of Education for information in the meantime.
Many schoolchildren still travel on public buses, of course, and the schedule for 2020-21 can be found here: www.gov.bm/sites/default/files/2020%20School%20Bus%20Schedule.pdf.
The Department of Public Transportation issued the following tips for keeping students safe while boarding, exiting, and riding on the bus:
• Wear your mask when the bus arrives and have your pass ready to show the bus operator
• Use hand sanitiser when you board the bus
• Parents should visit the bus stop with your child and show them how and where to wait (6ft away from the kerb and other passengers)
• Students should always get to the bus stop on time
• Do not run to catch a bus
• Do not play on a bus or at the bus stop
• • Never walk closely in front or behind a bus
• Stay seated when the bus is moving
• Do not put items or any part of your body outside of the windows
• Keep voices and noise low
• Follow the instructions of the bus operator
• Do not walk in between buses at the Hamilton Central Terminal
• If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, they should wait for the bus to leave the bus stop, look both ways, and then use the crosswalk
• Check with your child’s school office to get a bus pass for the school term. Bus passes are valid for the school year.