NEWS

School Bus Drama: 29 Students Stranded In School, The Youngest In Year 2

Police, in a call of duty, deployed vehicles to transport the students home.
21 Jan 2021 12:30
School Bus Drama: 29 Students Stranded In School, The Youngest In Year 2
Twenty-nine students of St Marcellin Primary School in Vatuwaqa, Suva, were left stranded in school at the end of the first day of school.

Twenty-nine students of St Marcellin Primary School in Vatuwaqa, Suva, were left stranded in school at the end of the first day of school.

Their school bus did not turn up on Tuesday when classes ended around 2:30pm.

And it was the Fiji Police Force that came to the rescue when the Tacirua Transport Limited bus did not turn up to pick up the students.

At 4pm the school called the Nabua Police Station, seeking help in transporting the students home.

Sergeant Nilesh Kumar was preparing to go home after his shift when he received the call to assist.

Coincidently, it was his first day of work in his new role as the Operations Sergeant for the Southern Division.

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As a father of two, his fatherly instincts kicked in to get the students home safely.

Sergeant Kumar acted without delay to call his colleague, Constable Harish Lal, to deploy the vehicle to the school.

“The call came in the eleventh hour when we were both finishing our shifts. Luckily, I was still around. I called the school and told the teachers not to panic and that we were going to help them,” he said.

“It’s our call of duty.”

When they reached the school, he said it saddened him to see the children tired, but the children were happy to see them.

The youngest was a Year 2 student.

“Initially, there were 13 students but some parents came and took their children home. So by the time we arrived, there were eight students waiting with two teachers,” Sergeant Kumar said.

Constable Harish Lal (left), and Sergeant Nilesh Kumar made sure the children of St Marcellin Primary School reached home safely, pictured here in Suva on January 20, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

Constable Harish Lal (left), and Sergeant Nilesh Kumar made sure the children of St Marcellin Primary School reached home safely, pictured here in Suva on January 20, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

“I felt sorry for the kids. They were glad that we were there and they got to travel back home in a Police vehicle.”

Head Teacher Jese Pareti said they only found out on the day that there was no school bus.

After enquiring with the bus company, the school head was told that the bus company was no longer servicing the route in question.

The school bus route is from Mead Road to Namadi, Tacirua, Tamavua and down Khalsa Road.

Mr Pareti said they decided to call Police when they had no luck, arranging for an alternative transport.

Tacirua Transport referred all queries to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), adding that they were dealing with the matter.

“LTA only found out yesterday. Police liaised with them. Until now we are not sure whether a bus company will come or not,” Mr Pareti said.

“We have not informed the parents. It happened in the afternoon we were all not aware. We are awaiting a decision from LTA on which company can come to pick up the children.

“Tacirua bus company did not inform us about their reason for suspending operations for that route.”

LTA will respond today.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj


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