Bisho: The Eastern Cape Transport Department will be spending over R4 million on an overhaul of the scholar transport scheme in the province.
Provincial transport spokesperson Ncedo Kumbaca said the department wanted to build on the successes achieved over the last year since taking over the scheme from the Education Department.
“Even the Education Department has acknowledged that the service as administered by the Department of Transport has dramatically improved since last year. However, the department believes a lot more can still be done in order to improve the service’s efficiency,” said Kumbaca on Wednesday.
He said SSI Engineers and Environmental Consultants (Pty) LTD has already been employed to look into redesigning the scheme.
He added that a technical team, led by the Public Transport Operations director Phumzile Mayapi, and a project steering committee, led by Transport Operations chief director James Mtila, had its first meeting with the new service provider on August 3.
“The purpose of the meeting was to clarify issues and roles to be played by the respective parties, including officials from the Education Department and provincial Treasury,” said Kumbaca.
Presently, nearly 55 000 pupils are being transported to 640 schools from over 3 00 pick-up points across the province. Kumbaca said for the first time, there was actual control over who transported the pupils, the types of vehicles used and whether the service was actually rendered.
One parent hoping to benefit from the redesigned scheme is Bongeka Sheshegu, who still has to walk her nine-year-old son Buhle to Mthwaku Junior Secondary School outside Ngcobo.
“I have to walk my son three kilometers to school every morning. I’m really happy that the department has decided to improve the transport system,” said Sheshegu.