-Says Transport Minister.
Minister of Transport and Aviation, Dr. Kabineh Kallon, has told newsmen at the Ministry of Information and Communication conference Hall, Youyi building, that the 50 school buses procured for the Free Quality Education, would be run on cost recovery basis.
He was not specific about the transportation fare that pupils would be paying, but noted that the prices would be determined by the inter-ministerial committee that have already been set up.
He noted that the fare will be stored into a special account and would be used for the maintenance of the buses and pay the wages of drivers.
The minister said they were ordered by President Bio to purchase buses that would be exclusively used by pupils attending government and government assisted schools across the country.
He noted that huge transportation cost has been seriously undermining the free quality education, hence there was a dire need for the purchase of those buses.
"We have held several meetings with various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance, Basic and Secondary Education, Local Government and all the councils on how to distribute the buses," he said.
He said Falaba, Karene, Koinadugu,Pujehun, Moyamba and Bonthe districts will be given one bus each, while Kailahun, Tonkolili, Port Loko will have two buses each.
He continued that while Kono and Bombalili will receive three buses each,Kenema and Western Rural will be given five buses each, and Bo getting six.
He said although twelve buses will be deployed in the Western Urban areas, the government was strongly thinking to bringing more buses as the city is densely populated with students.
"We have to reserve the remaining three buses. In case of any breakage we will quickly replace it. Yes, we have plans to add more buses in the Western Urban areas in due course. This is the pilot phase," he said.
The minister stated that pupils have never enjoyed transportation opportunity; not even 'Poda-Poda' talks less of sophisticated buses which have a monitor camera installed in it.
He also added that they have agreed to set up a monitoring body which comprises council chairmen, mayors, District Officers, Directorate of Education, Provincial Secretary, youth representative, Civil Societies Organizations, women's representatives, police and SLTU representatives, among others.
The minister said the buses which were manufactured at Golden Dragon in China came with spare parts and mobile garage, and that 3 Chinese expert have been hired to train drivers because the buses are very sophisticated.
He disclosed that the buses would be lunched on the 13th September at the Youyi building.