By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Sept 4: Parents are encouraged to send their children to school using the free school bus provided by the state government through Yayasan Sarawak.
Ministry of Transport Sarawak (MoTS) in a press statement said the school bus service is reliable and safe apart from being free.
It added that the free school bus programme is part of the overall state government’s strategy to address urban traffic congestion especially during peak hours and in the city centre.
MoTS said by doing so, more private vehicles will be taken off from the street, thus freeing the road space.
MoTS added that the Sarawak government through Yayasan Sarawak and the ministry together with the relevant agencies are committed to ensure that the free school bus service will be implemented in major towns in Sarawak.
At the same time, it said Minister of Transport Sarawak Datuk Lee Kim Shin will be meeting with Yayasan Sarawak director and headmasters of schools involved in the free school bus programme on September 10 to obtain feedback on the ways to further strengthen the implementation of the programme.
It said Lee and a few officers from MoTS took the free school bus ride to experience for themselves the services of the school bus yesterday.
“On the early morning of September 3 around 5.30 am, the Honourable Minister for Transport, Sarawak, Datuk Lee Kim Shin went to take a school bus ride in the Sungei Apong area where the bus sends students to SRK St. Andrew, SJK Sg. Apong and SMK Pending.
“The purpose of the bus ride was to see and experience personally the operation of the free school bus services, especially on how the school bus picks up students at designated assembly points in the residential areas at Sg. Apong in Pending and sent them to their respective schools.
“Lee was pleased to note that the school bus is clean and students wore face masks as they entered the bus and physical distancing was observed.
“In addition, the bus driver was on hand to receive students as they entered the bus and was the first to go down the bus to ensure students came down from the bus and crossed the road to the school without any untoward incident,” MoTS said.
It added that Lee was accompanied by MoTS permanent secretary Buckland Bangik, Yayasan Sarawak director Azmi Bujang, Sarawak Foundation deputy director Louis Simon Peter and MoTS transport advisor Dr Lawrence Tseu during his trip.
MoTS said the ministry together with Yayasan Sarawak are monitoring closely the services rendered by the school bus and compiling data on the ridership which is greatly needed and necessary to further improve the services.
It added that based on the feedback received from students, it was determined that many parents have installed the Free School Bus Apps and they are able to employ it to track and monitor the movement of school buses.
Since the launching, MoTS said the programme had received encouraging responses from both students and the parents.
To recap, MoTS said the free school bus service for Kuching was launched by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on July 15, 2020.
It said the launching was a sincere manifestation that the state government cares about the well-being of the rakyat.
It added that the initiative also demonstrates that the state government fulfils its promises to the rakyat and not mere rhetoric statements as alleged by some quarters.
MoTS said the implementation of the free school bus service in Kuching is being carried out by Yayasan Sarawak in collaboration with the School Bus Associations and supported by the relevant agencies including MoTS, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research, State Education Department, local authorities and the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) Sarawak. —DayakDaily