Ondo exco seeks legal backing for school shuttle bus scheme

passenger busTHE Ondo State Executive Council on Monday forwarded a bill to regulate the activities of its free school shuttle bus scheme to the state’s newly constituted Assembly for consideration.

The State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, in a chat with newsmen in Akure, said the state executive sponsored the bill to ensure the sustainability of the programme, which kicked off in the state three years ago.

He said the scheme has been adjudged one of the best initiatives of the government to ensure the populace enjoy the dividend of democracy.

The commissioner said the initiative came into being in order to improve the transportation system of school children to and from school and ensure that incessant risks faced daily by children who have to ride on motorcycles is reduced.

The bill tagged Ondo State Free School Bus Shuttle Scheme has been forwarded to the newly inaugurated House of Assembly for consideration following the decision of the executive council to legitimize the scheme, which has been running in all the 18 local councils of the State.

Stressing that the bill is also intended to provide legislative backing for the School Shuttle programme, ensure its sustainability and make it outlive the present administration, Akinmade said the gains of the scheme could not be quantified, adding that government envisaged the programme will still grow bigger hence the decision to give it a legal teeth to operate without any hitch even after the term of the incumbent government.

The state Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko had revealed that the Mega school and free school bus shuttle initiatives of his government were designed to bridge the gap between the children of the rich and the poor in the state.

Akinmade said the introduction of free shuttle buses to convey pupils in the state from their houses to their schools in the morning and bring them back in the afternoon, has no doubt instilled the culture of punctuality and discipline in the future leaders, since the scheme started about three years ago, adding that the buses are exceptionally neat and well maintained, and dedicated solely to the primary and secondary school children.

nnHe said officials of the state government and a few security operatives attached to each of the buses always ensure that the system operates in an orderly manner until all the children are transported to their various schools.

The Commissioner for Transportation, Nicholas Tofowomo, while commenting on the initiative recently said: “Our free school shuttle is not driven by an outsider, it is driven by the ministry in such a way that the Chief Transport Officer, the bus driver, the fuelling and maintenance, everything is driven by the ministry, so that when the government leaves, these people would still be here.

“All those people that are driving this concept are not politicians; they are civil servants, except me, the head, whom Governor Mimiko has given directives to and I have been able to inculcate those directives into the system, whereby even if I’m out of the system, there will be sustainability.

“The school free shuttle began in Akure. The drivers have a minimum of school certificate, they are civil servants and they are trained to look after the vehicle if it breaks down. If we are out of the system, the drivers would still drive the vehicles and they would be able to manage them,” he said.

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