PORT-OF-SPAIN – A major derelict bus-stealing racket has
been uncovered in which Public Transport Service Corporation
employees, licensing officers and private bus operators
may be involved.
The buses in question are scrapped PTSC buses, which
should have been discarded, but are finding themselves back out
on the roads, posing danger to commuters.
The PTSC fleet stands at 425 buses to date, according t
o officials. Of that number, 350 are on the road, several are
under repairs, while roughly 52 of them are carded for disposal,
and would have been sent to the Vehicle Maintenance Company
of Trinidad and Tobago to be scrapped.
However, sometime last year, one of the discarded PTSC
buses – TR 4 HAX 9221 – vanished from the VMCOTT
compound in Barataria.
Senior PTSC sources have said the disappearance of the bus
is linked to a covert operation orchestrated from within the
walls of the PTSC.
A senior source close to the investigation of the
disappearance of TR 4 has confirmed that the bus was sent to
VMCOTT’s compound in 2011 to be dismantled and discarded,
but that never happened.
PTSC investigators say based on information they
obtained, the last time TR 4 was seen on the compound
was February 2012.
No one seemed to know where the bus had gone,
but following several leads, CCN (TV6 and the Express)
found the bus parked in a garage in Rio Claro on Friday,
The garage is tucked away on a lonely farm road on Ministry
of Agriculture lands.
The bus was found more than a year and a half after it had
been plucked mysteriously from the VMCOTT compound.
At the garage, PTSC investigators and Rio Claro police found
tangible evidence of the bus being prepared for transformation.
Spray guns and other paraphernalia were found together with
strips of white paper rolls used to cover vehicles
Pictures the Express obtained when the bus was first stolen
showed it with its wheels, windows and seats intact, but at the
garage the bus looked nothing like the previous images.
PTSC security investigators said based on the information
they had received, TR 4 was set to be converted to a private
tour bus. (Trinidad Express)