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  • In an interview with JIS News following a final test run of the service on Thursday (August 12) between Spanish Town and Linstead, MOEYI Director (Acting), Safety and Security in Schools, Mr. Richard Troupe told JIS News that the Ministry is looking forward to the service.
  • The Acting Safety and Security Director gave high marks for the cost of the service while pointing out that it will make a big difference in the lives of children whose parents experience financial challenges.
  • In his assessment of Thursday’s test run of the return rail service from Spanish town to Linstead, Mr. Troupe said that the day was well spent. He expressed confidence that evaluation forms that were distributed among stakeholders to be completed on the journey, will be used to inform improvements to the student passenger rail service.

Approximately 720 students in the parish of St. Catherine are expected to be transported daily by the School Train Service that will be operated by the Jamaica Railway Corporation in conjunction with the Ministry of Education Youth and Information (MOEYI) and the Jamaica Urban Transit Company.

In an interview with JIS News following a final test run of the service on Thursday (August 12) between Spanish Town and Linstead, MOEYI Director (Acting), Safety and Security in Schools, Mr. Richard Troupe told JIS News that the Ministry is looking forward to the service.

“When the MOEYI was informed by the Ministry of Transport that they would like to reactivate the rail service to provide a student passenger rail service in September, the Ministry welcomed it,” Mr. Troupe said.

He pointed out that the Ministry has a particular interest in the reliability of the service, the safety of the children, and the standard of discipline that will be maintained as students utilise the service. A large number of students are expected to benefit from the service on a daily basis.

“We believe that this is going to make a significant difference in the quality of transportation service provided to students,” Mr. Troupe said.

The Acting Safety and Security Director gave high marks for the cost of the service while pointing out that it will make a big difference in the lives of children whose parents experience financial challenges.

“One good thing about the programme, is that the cost per child is one hundred dollars per trip which include the opportunity for the children to be shuttled from the Spanish Town Railway Station to their respective schools within the Spanish Town environs and so we really welcome this level of partnership,” Mr. Troupe added.

In his assessment of Thursday’s test run of the return rail service from Spanish town to Linstead, Mr. Troupe said that the day was well spent.

He expressed confidence that evaluation forms that were distributed among stakeholders to be completed on the journey, will be used to inform improvements to the student passenger rail service.

“We … have articulated our concerns and we are anticipating that these will be addressed in the near future to ensure that come September when we resume some level of face to face school, that children will be benefitting from this significant initiative,” he stated.

Meanwhile, other stakeholders are looking forward to the service and what it will mean for student passenger movement when school reopens for face-to-face classes.

Deputy Managing Director (DMD), Operations at the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Owen Smith, told JIS News that the JUTC is excited about the new venture.

He explained that the JUTC’s role in the new initiative, is to complete the journey.

“The JRC will get the children into Spanish Town. From Spanish Town, we have created two routes which will be used to get the children to school on time. The reverse will be done in the evening to get the children back to the railway station safely” Mr. Smith said.

“These routes will service approximately 24 schools within Spanish Town. Students who are going further than that will use our regular service which will take them to school or close, the DMD- Operations said.

Mr. Smith explained that the JUTC is currently at the stage where they are testing and timing the routes to ensure that the students get to school on time.

“We want to ensure that we have our proper schedules and route arrangements in place and that the buses can actually take them to school safely.  So we are now fine-tuning for the launch in September” Mr. Smith said

St. Jago High School student Gabrille Christian who was experiencing a train ride in Jamaica for the first time was pleased with the service and rued the fact that she does not live in an area that would necessitate her using the train.

She is, however, confident that her schoolmates will be happy to utilise the service when the trains roll into Spanish Town from Old Harbour and Linstead in September.

The programme is a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Transport and Mining through the JRC, the JUTC, and the MOEYI. Other stakeholders include the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

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