Bermuda Real has confirmed that the Department of Public Transportation has “initiated” talks with school officials at the Berkeley Institute, due to escalating disruptive and potentially dangerous behaviour by a group of male students.
This after a group of bus operators contacted this website, who said they were fed up with the ongoing spate of problems on board the Number 7 bus dispatched from the west end on school days.
Within the past month, one driver said she was faced with two separate incidents over a two-week period, involving a male students who jumped out of the bus window.
When it happened for a second time, she called the police. When she went to move the vehicle she discovered that another student had removed the key from the ignition.
She then had to wait for another key to be delivered by another DPT employee.
Other drivers cited several incidences of students using profane language while on the bus transporting them to school.
Another driver had a bottle hurled at her bus by a student while the bus was in transit.
“Basically, these children are out of control and disrespectful,” she said.
“It’s just a matter of time before one of us gets hurt. And we feel that the department has been dragging their feet on this issue.
“We’ve asked management to meet with school officials. If they don’t there will be drivers who will refuse to drive the buses assigned to the Berkeley Institute,” she added.
Their comments were echoed by a minibus operator, whose vehicles were damaged by students being transported from the west end to the senior school last year.
The damage seen in this photograph taken last September, occurred when his minibus was leaving the school.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he said: “A group of young male students approached the vehicle, and one of them smashed the window with a crash helmet.”
Students also slashed several seats on the minibus, and dented several areas on the outside of the vehicle.
The damage, was eventually covered by the Minibus Association, which was commissioned by DPT to transport school students at the start of the new school year.
When contacted, a DPT spokesman said: “There has definitely been incidents of unsociable and potentially dangerous behaviour occurring on some school buses and action must be taken to protect our bus operators and passengers.
As a result, he said: “The Department of Public Transportation (DPT) and a team from the Berkeley Institute have initiated dialogue after ongoing unruly behaviour on board buses has escalated.
“Complaints of the possibility of harm to passengers or drivers have led to investigations into specific events in advance of further discussions between the two parties.
“We are continuing our investigations and it would not be appropriate to divulge too much about that at this time. But the public can be assured that steps will be taken to implement corrective measures to curb this unfortunate behaviour.”
Moving forward, he said: “Our existing security procedures are under review.
“Action will be taken with regard to the incidents which have already occurred and preventative measures are being considered to arrest the negative behaviour identified.”
Requests by Bermuda Real for an official comment on behalf of the senior school went unanswered.