An in­side take on the bus­ing is­sue


School bus­ing is now a hot topic, and the honourable Clyde Jack­man is giv­ing the con­sul­tant the task of telling us the way to op­er­ate the sys­tem. Our com­pany car­ried out the first school bus­ing in this province to check the vi­a­bil­ity of bus­ing stu­dents to a cen­tral lo­ca­tion.

Since 1946, our com­pany has been in­volved in pub­lic trans­porta­tion, and we have al­ways con­sid­ered it an awe­some re­spon­si­bil­ity to have all the chil­dren of school age in a small com­mu­nity in one bus.

No stone should be left un­turned to de­velop a sys­tem as ef­fi­cient as hu­manly pos­si­ble to de­liver stu­dents to our schools safely, ef­fi­ciently and in a pleas­ant friendly at­mos­phere. Af­ter so many years we take pride in ac­com­plish­ing this ob­jec­tive with­out a sin­gle mishap.

In the be­gin­ning the school bus driver was in charge. Stu­dents were made aware to ride a bus to school was a priv­i­lege and not a right. The rules were sim­ple: if any stu­dent abused that priv­i­lege they were given a warn­ing. If there was a sec­ond in­ci­dent they were given a sec­ond warn­ing, and if it con­tin­ued a third time the stu­dent was sus­pended for a pe­riod of time from rid­ing the bus. It worked and it was a plea­sure to drive our stu­dents to school.

The rules have changed; the driver is no longer in charge. The com­mand post is in the de­part­ment of ed­u­ca­tion, and has all the trap­pings of a bu­reau­cratic jun­gle. It looks as if the min­is­ter is not open to any sug­ges­tions from ex­pe­ri­enced op­er­a­tors.

The pre­vi­ous min­is­ter, the hon­or­able Darin King, was asked by this writer if he was avail­able for a chat. He re­sponded: “No prob­lem, I will get back to you.” He never did.

At the 60th PC con­ven­tion in Gan­der the present min­is­ter, Clyde Jack­man, was asked the same ques­tion and he re­sponded, “No prob­lem.” He spared me less than a minute be­fore he rushed off and I never saw him again.

It’s un­for­tu­nate if the min­is­ters of the Crown are too busy or too im­por­tant that they have no time to lis­ten to the le­git­i­mate con­cerns of those who are striv­ing to make things bet­ter.

J. G. Noel ( Joe) writes from Car­bon­ear

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