School bus operators, particularly in the southern part of the country, face significant challenges in upholding their end of contracts they’ve received from the Ministry of Education. We have been told of instances that runs are not done on time, various delays and in some cases, students are not taken all the way to school. The Ministry says that a meeting, which was planned for today, will begin the process of resolving those issues. Minister Francis Fonseca says that it was not a question of capacity, but the rising cost of fuel is putting a serious dent in operators’ pockets. Here’s how he explained it.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “I don’t think it’s a question of the capacity of the persons who have gotten the contracts. I think we’ve established that everyone who has contracts can fulfill those contracts. We have of course an issue right now with the cost of fuel that’s created problems for these contractors. They signed off on contracts at a specific value and of course that value no longer fits in with the cost of fuel so it’s something we’re working along with them to try to address. I’ve already discussed it with the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister to see if we will have to adjust the contracts because the people are not making any money in fact they’re losing money given the cost of fuel, diesel, and so we are working on that but as I said we want to have this meeting today because the main problem is in the south of the country. We want to have this meeting today and coming out of that meeting next week we will put together specific recommendations to the Ministry of Finance to address the matter.”