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More than $200,000 spent on school minibus service

More than $200,000 has been spent on a school minibus service.

A transport ministry spokesman said the current tab for the service was at $217,500.

Walter Roban, Minister of Transport, announced in September that minibuses would be used to supplement traditional buses — more than half of which were out of service.

The ministry spokesman said the number of buses still out of commission “varies” but that about half of the island's fleet were off the roads. He added that Mr Roban was hopeful that minibuses would not be needed next term.

A new mechanic has been hired and two mechanics from MAN — the manufacturer of the island's buses — will be in Bermuda next month to help get the fleet back on the roads.

He said: “In addition, the scheduled preventive maintenance is back on track. This combination of factors should allow the need for minibuses to fall.”

A government spokesman said in September that the cost of the minibus service — hired on an as-needed basis — could run as high as $630,000.

He added at the time that the Bermuda Minibus Association was contracted through a request for proposal process.

The spokesman said earlier this month that the Department of Public Transport had received permission from the Office of Procurement and Public Management to issue the RFP direct to Bermuda's two minibus associations — BMA and Somers Isles Minibus Association.

The spokesman added that only BMA responded.

Kevin Bean, president of Sima, said many of his organisation's members were committed to other jobs when the RFP was put out.

He added: “When it was first presented to us, it was stated that you needed buses with 20 or more seats. Most of the small buses, like we have, are 14 seaters.”

But he said that due to a lack of the preferred larger minibuses on the island, smaller vehicles like those owned by his members had been used.

He added: “If we are presented with an opportunity to quote again, we will give serious consideration to putting something forward.”

Mr Bean said his association represented around five business owners, who operate around a dozen minibuses.

The current contract expires at the end of this year.

The ministry spokesman said a new contract would be issued if minibuses were needed in January.

Walter Roban (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published November 22, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated November 22, 2017 at 12:44 am)

More than $200,000 spent on school minibus service

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