The transport ministry announced Wednesday the introduction of a school bus for primary school students on a pilot basis from September, as discussions are underway to review schools’ timetable.

Speaking to the House education committee, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said the new programme will be implemented on a pilot basis for six months starting this September in several primary schools from urban, tourist and remote areas.

The school bus will pick up children from their home and take them to school in the morning and will also transport them back to their homes upon completion of classes, the minister explained.

He added the aim is to implement the programme for all primary schools in Cyprus from September 2023.

During the pilot phase, the ministry will “probably” not introduce an additional charge, while Karousos said any future cost for the school bus will be “minimal”.

The minister said the new programme will resolve a lot of problems in the daily lives of parents and other residents as it is expected to reduce traffic jams recorded in the morning and afternoon when students have to travel to and from school.

In relation to proposed changes to schools’ timetable that have been floated, Karousos said a study will be prepared on the issue by the end of September.

Within the framework of the study for the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan of Nicosia (SUMP), the ministry has asked for a study to be carried out first in relation to the current school hours and whether, in case the hours of the Public Service, education or some private organisations change, how these changes will affect traffic, he said.

According to the minister, the traffic problem will be eased if the hours are shifted and highlighted that the working hours of the public sector must also change.

The results of the study will “help significantly”, he said, so that the problem is not shifted from one hour to another.

Furthermore, Karousos said the smart traffic lights installed in Nicosia and Limassol have contributed to reduce traffic jams.