Route taxis and mini buses could soon be operating from the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal – at least on an experimental basis.
The leaders of the Association of Public Transport Operators Inc (APTO) and the newly-formed Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) have agreed, in principle, with the Ministry of Transport and Works, the Transport Authority and the Transport Board to ply their business from the Fairchild Street terminal.
Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley told a Press conference this afternoon that Government had invited the PSVs to help adequately and efficiently service the public.
He said that following a fruitful and productive meeting with the stakeholders at his Pine, St Michael office, a preliminary proposal had been put on the table by the two private bodies, aimed at improving the standards of public transport in Barbados.
“I believe that their [PSVs] submissions were of a very high level and those submissions we will take to heart, and what we have decided is that within two weeks we will meet again with the PSVs and they will bring forward some more proposals and suggestions,” Lashley said.
Three routes have already selected for a six-month pilot project.
“We would have to make sure there is some transparency in selecting those persons who would be interested in participating . . . . Of course we would have to go to Cabinet and [after] we would launch the project,” the Minister said.
Lashley said those PSVs which agreed to operate from the Transport Board terminal would be regulated by the Transport Authority.
Without going into many details, he stressed that the initiative would entail new business standards, training and uniforms.
Interim chairman of the APTO Morris Lee said his organization was fully behind any move to improve the standards and efficiency of public transportation.
“I believe that the aspect of common ground still remains, in that our interest is no different from the interest of the central Government . . . . We want transport to be state-of-the art, we want transport to be efficient and we want transport to be economically viable for the players that are involved within the system,” Lee pointed out.
“Obviously, to see any project come to finality, first and foremost you would have a pilot project, or a number of pilot projects, but we are here in full demonstration of our willingness with the Minister, the Ministry and the Transport Authority to achieve those objectives.”
Lee explained that once the preliminary discussions were completed, the Transport Authority would prepare a proposal for publication in the media, inviting expressions of interests.
“The Transport Board and the private sector . . . would submit their proposals as it relates to the expressions of interests. Once that expression of interest is received and examined, perused and consideration is given to it, at that point, then the pilot project will get off the ground,” he explained.
Chairman of the AOPT Roy Raphael said he would be meeting shortly with his committee to examine the proposal document and he was looking forward to the next discussions with the Ministry.
Director of Transport with the Authority Alex Linton made it clear that while the partnership plan was ongoing, his agency would be keeping a close eye on proceedings as well as the conduct of both public and private sector transport operators.