Disheartened pupils across Cyprus are preparing action against a Troika-driven decision to charge them €15 a month from next Tuesday to take the bus to school and back home in the afternoon.
The move is part an overall effort to ensure that €10 million flows into state coffers from Public Transport and with the pupils’ bus fares €2m will be raised.
But Panayiotis Monoyios, president of the Cyprus Coordinating Pupils’ Committee (Psem) yesterday told The Cyprus Weekly:
“We are totally disappointed with the decision and failure by the Education and Communications Ministries to engage in dialogue with us.
“It seems that the Education Ministry did not find other ways to raise the cash needed without affecting pupils.”
“We will not leave it at that. We are ready to take dynamic action and first of all we will demand a dialogue as we have done in the past. Our committee’s council will decide on the type of measures we will take,” he added.
School kids are angry at the Education Ministry’s stance to ignore the fact that one in five pupils do not even have the basics for school with many parents being out of work or suffering salary cuts as a result of the economic crisis.
“Initially, we were told that free bus fares would be given according to criteria but, in the end, a decision was made to only allow pupils who were registered at the Welfare Office until December 11 to get on the school bus free of charge.
“This means that pupils whose parents lose their jobs or suffer some kind of income cut after December 11 will not be allowed free bus fares which is unacceptable,” Monoyios said.
Meanwhile, very few students have bought tickets for next Tuesday (the first day back to school after the Christmas Holidays) which were sold in advance before the festive break.
“It was not widely known that tickets were pre-sold and very few students bought tickets for next week. But we were told that we can buy single route tickets for 75 cents,” Monoyios said.
This is expected to cause chaos at bus stops with bus drivers selling tickets and having to give change and some students expected to refuse to pay.
Meetings were planned for late yesterday between the Public Transport Department and bus organisations to try to find solutions to the anticipated chaos.