Pretoria – Scholar transport in the Northern Cape will be ready when the 2015 academic year starts tomorrow, says the provincial Transport Department.
“For this academic year that is starting on Wednesday, we’ve reclaimed the routes and entered into negotiated contracts with the existing service providers, according to the National Land Transport Act as the services were rendered on a month to month basis,” said Head of the provincial Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Stephen Jonkers, on Tuesday.
“About 98% of the service providers have indicated their willingness to enter into negotiated contracts.
“We are pleased to say that most of the service providers have submitted and met the requirements. There are some minor challenges but they are in the process of being addressed. We … expect that all systems will be running,” he said.
Jonkers said a process undertaken with service providers required certain compliance issues, which include matters such as ownership, roadworthiness and capacity to match the demand, liability and tax clearance certificates.
He said modes of transport that are to be used are midi and mini-buses.
“We want to … contribute to the culture of learning. Our objective is to provide transport that is accessible, cost effective and safe. The provisioning of learner transport is based on that premise.
“We have taken over the function of learner transport in 2012. There have been minor challenges during the transition, like service providers not being paid on time. We have overcome most of those challenges, as corrective measures were taken…” Jonkers said.
He said other interventions include the deployment of officials and volunteers. Learner transport vehicles will also be branded for easy identification.
The department will also look at technological monitoring systems.
“Challenges are expected but will be addressed as they are noted. Engagements were also done with the Department of Education and we appreciate their cooperation,” he said.
With regard to road safety, Jonkers said: “Compliance issues will be taken seriously and steps for any contravention will be taken.”
He urged the public to report any contraventions of non-compliance to the department on 053 839 1700.