AS primary and secondary schools prepare for the new academic year, starting January 7, transport agencies have been urged to prioritise students transport back to school to avoid the inconveniencies that had were common in the past.
Addressing the operators, yesterday, the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Mathias Harebamungu said that besides playing their moral role of ensuring that the children report to school on time, he cautioned them against taking advantage of the influx in passengers to hike fares.
He said that transport operators had been cooperative in during the past academic year, adding that this spirit should be maintained.
"Students should put on their uniforms and carry school identity cards so as to facilitate transport operators to identify who is a student and who is not," he said.
"We informed parents about the date the schools will reopen, we encourage them to take it seriously and help their children report to their respective schools on time," Harebamungu said.
Schools in the Southern Province, Kigali City, and Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts of Western Province will reopen on January 6, while all the other will commence on January 7, the minister said.
Harebamungu said that students should report to their respective bus stations on time and that any student who will report to school late would be required to bring along a parent or guardian to justify the delay.
However, transport operators said it becomes hard for them to transport students with their baggage as they risk attracting police fines for overloading.
Andrew Japhet Agaba, of Volcano Express company, said that students whether heading to school or returning home always have their suitcases full of belongings and that police fine drivers for mixing people with luggage.
He said Volcano Express has been fined 10 times over the same issue.
Police urged transport operators to look for appropriate ways to handle the problem and not make it a pretext to overload their buses.
For students who study in rural areas where transport operators do not reach, they will use the buses operated by the national transporter ONATRACOM, minister Harebamungu said.