Bratislava/Dobrohost, May 15 (TASR) – A school bus hit the road in Slovakia on Monday, offering pupils free transport to a local primary school in Bratislava’s borough of Rusovce on the Vojka-Bodiky-Dobrohost-Rusovce route (Trnava and Bratislava regions), TASR learnt on Monday.
The school bus pilot project, which will run until the end of June, is aimed at increasing safety for children travelling to schools and at helping villages to decide whether to run their own small schools or to send children to larger schools in neighbouring villages or towns.
The project is a result of a joint agreement between Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee), Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) and Transport and Construction Minister Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid).
“All three of us are happy about the launch of the project. It will have a number of positive effects. In the future municipalities will be able to consider saving some of the money that they spent on local schools. At the same time, children’s safety will improve, as the bus driver will wait for pupils to get on the bus outside their homes and will drive them to school,” said Plavcan, adding that the project will be tested over the next two months.
“We expect that after evaluating traffic flows over two months, we’ll be able to set an offer for other entities interested in the project. At the beginning of the next school year more municipalities could have their own school buses. In terms of money, we’re ready to cover anticipated interest, ranging from dozens to hundreds of buses,” added the education minister.
Kalinak noted that his ministry is serving as a logistics partner in the project, which apart from the vehicles also involves the training of drivers. He stressed that towns and villages will also be able to use the buses for transporting seniors or members of sports clubs. According to him, the pilot project is aimed at helping the state to ascertain how much interest there is in such a service and what municipalities really expect from it.
Ersek views the main benefits of the school bus project as boosting pupils’ safety, improving the organisation of transport and making the school system more efficient.