With School Buses Grounded, Students Ride Crowded VITRAN – Some Sit on Floor


Guy Benjamin School students disembark from the VITRAN bus on Wednesday afternoon, April 11.

St. John school children were not able to ride in the comfort of their new school buses and some had to sit on the floor of a crowded VITRAN bus instead for a few days last week due to motor vehicle inspection issues.

Varlack Ventures, which operates the public school bus system on St. John, recently purchased two new buses, which apparently hadn’t been properly inspected, according to Varlack Ventures manager Delrise Varlack.

All was fine on Wednesday, April 11, when children were dropped off at schools, but the kids had to ride the smaller VITRAN bus home late that afternoon. Some said there were not enough seats.

“We Had To Sit Everywhere”
“We had to sit everywhere,” said one student. “Some kids had to sit on the ground, some kids had to sit on the steps and some kids had to stand up.”

Other children complained about the fumes.

“It was stinky,” said another student.

The problem arose in Cruz Bay after a V.I. Police Department officer flagged the bus down and inquired about its inspection, according to Varlack.

“Sometime after the morning run and before the afternoon run, a VIPD officer pulled the bus over and told them to park it up on the side of the road,” said Varlack.

“There is a question as far as the validity of the inspection,” she explained. “School buses require special inspections which can’t be executed here on St. John, we had to send the bus to St. Thomas.”

“We contacted the schools and we’ve been working with public safety here on St. John and on St. Thomas,” Varlack added.
School children were forced to ride on the smaller VITRAN bus again on Thursday morning, April 12, but were back in their comfortable school bus that afternoon — and every child had a seat.

“Everything is taken care of  now,” Varlack said on Thursday afternoon, April 12.