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Minister awaiting report on school bus incident

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Transport Minister Alexis Vafeadis

An overhaul of school bus safety criteria is on the cards in light of an incident on Wednesday involving a school bus packed with school children skidded across the motorway when it lost one of its wheels, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeadis said on Friday.

Vafeadis told reporters that he would be given a written report on the accident that occurred in Limassol by Monday.

He said that he expects the report from both the department of electrical and mechanical services, which examines the vehicle itself, and the department of road transport, which has referred to the technical inspection that took place on the bus in February, to find out what was checked. who checked it and whether proper work was done.

The aim is to record all the facts and draw conclusions for taking corrective measures.

“This is not an isolated incident, there was one like this six months ago, it is a very serious issue,” he said.

The bus was transporting students to Larnaca on Wednesday when it lost a wheel near the Athienou exit. The wheel apparently hit the second bus in the convoy without causing any damages.

The driver of the first bus was able to immobilise the vehicle by the roadside and no students were hurt.

A similar instance occurred in Limassol six months ago, with a private company bus that had been chartered by a school.

In both cases, the buses were operating within the prescribed legal framework and all the required checks had been carried out, Vafeades said. Buses are required to be checked yearly, unlike private vehicles which are checked every two years.

Mass transport buses must be under 20 years old and the ones currently in operation are on average around 10 years old, the minister told Alphanews.

The bus in the latest incident was 14 years old and had a roadworthiness certificate issued in February and its tyres changed three days prior to the incident.

Asked if there will now be a more thorough check on school buses and passenger buses in general, he said that the selection of each bus is made by each school and added that he has already discussed this with the education minister and will have a meeting with her early next week to update the selection process of buses.

He added that the meeting will also consider how, when and how often these checks will be carried out, especially in relation to school trips.

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