School buses: what Deputy Regional Governor told North Corfu Parents΄ Association
CORFU. Efforts are being made for most of the school buses to begin operating on Monday, 18 September.
North Corfu Parents' and Guardians' Association requested a clear timeline for the start of school transportation from the Deputy Regional Governor on Monday. The meeting with Deputy Regional Governor Kostas Zorbas took place at the Regional Office and was attended by the responsible official of the Regional Directorate for school transportation, Ms. Maxouti, and the Executive Secretary, Mr. Kendarchos. Also present were the Regional Director of Education for the Ionian Islands, Petros Aggelopoulos and the Director of Primary Education in Corfu, Ms. Savvidou.
Representing the transportation providers, the President of the Association of Tourist Coach Owners, Mr. Tsagkaris, was also present. On behalf of the Parents' Association, President Ms. Protopsalti, Vice President Mr. Farmakis, Secretary Ms. Goudeli and Treasurer Mr. Louvros were in attendance.
According to the information provided by the Association, the interim competition for school transportation started on September 1 and ended on September 6. Ms. Maxouti stated that it is currently undergoing technical evaluation and the financial committee stage is pending.
The information provided was that there is an attempt to start 112 routes out of a total of 165 across Corfu on Monday, September 18. This means that 53 routes, for which bids have not been made, will not start immediately and will be put out for bids again without a specific timeline being given or which routes are involved.
Mr. Zorbas said that the fact that the interim competition started on September 1 was a "mistake," due to the lack of personnel at the Regional Directorate for school transportation. Regarding the extension of last year's contract with the transportation providers, which would have solved the problem from the beginning, we were informed that there was no contract signed for the period from January 2023 to June 2023.
However, Mr. Zorbas committed to paying all transportation providers within the next quarter for this specific period. It should also be noted that in the three-year competition for school transportation that would have resolved the issue for three years, there was not a satisfactory number of participants, as we were informed, resulting in the process being frozen.
Mr. Aggelopoulos and Ms. Savvidou listened attentively to the information provided by the relevant authorities, and a thorough discussion with proposals ensued. Mr. Aggelopoulos also informed us that school transportation is operating normally on the other Ionian Islands. According to the responsible Deputy Regional Governors, school transportation is at 100% on Lefkada and Zakynthos and at 80% on Cephalonia, where the remaining 20% will be covered by taxis.
Regional Council President, Nikos Mouzakitis, joined the meeting and offered to convene a Regional Council meeting if necessary to facilitate the procedures. Mr. Tsagkaris expressed the concerns of the transportation providers.
North Corfu Parents' and Guardians' Association issued a statement saying: "In summary, for at least this week, there will be no school transportation. As parents, we recognise the concern and disruption that has arisen in all families. We wish patience and strength to the parents who will transport their children to and from school, as well as to the children who will not attend school this week. We are committed to continuing to advocate for the best for our children."
Board of Directors
North Corfu Parents' and Guardians' Association