The dress code for public service vehicle workers is in effect, and though the jury might be out on whether the introduction of uniforms will impact the level of service delivered by these men and women who transport hundreds across our island daily, the declared practice is certainly welcome.
We are all too familiar with the persistent complaints about PSV operators in poor dress and exhibiting even poorer behaviour, as well as the public blastings they suffer for their blatant disregard of road traffic regulations.
So, on this occasion we applaud the majority of workers who were bedecked in their new legislated attire at the start of the week; and we urge those yet to don their uniforms to fall in line.
The move, intended to restore discipline to the public transportation system, is much needed in a society where decency and order need to be urgently revived in too large a number of areas.
This time around we have to agree with Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley who said: “If you go out there in armholes, T-shirts, slippers, short pants, unkempt, then you are going to have the travelling public making some very derogatory statements about the drivers, and it is going to impact their sales, and it is going to impact on their business.”
The fact is perception does count! A shoddily attired worker in any occupation –– behind the desk or the wheel –– will hardly attract respect whether or not it is deserved. It still holds true that many a book is more often than not judged by its cover –– unfairly or not.
PSV operators for a number of reasons, including that of their slack dress, have not been regarded as highly as their colleagues at the Transport Board –– and not always without good cause.
Dress does make a statement, and we aver that transporting workers to conduct the nation’s business, and children to school to become the leaders of tomorrow, should be treated as the important functions they are, and therefore PSV workers should take more pride in their dress, conduct and ultimately service.
Our PSV workers should make good use of this opportunity to professionalize their business –– moving beyond wearing the specified style and colours to appropriately wearing the uniform with dignity.
In any case, there’s a heavy price to pay for defaulters –– a maximum fine of $1,000 or a term of 12 months or both, under the Road Traffic Act. So all would do well to comply. Still, adults should not have to be policed to wear proper attire.
But we cannot ignore a point well made by the PSV workers that this attempt by the Ministry of Transport to raise standards in the River Van Stand must not stop at uniforms. In the words of one PSV operator, “putting clean pigs in a dirty sty” is not acceptable.
The conditions in the van stand leave much to be desired and is therefore deserving of a much needed facelift. We might start with a cleansing.
Commuters and PSV workers now have to endure untidy environs, and this worsens when there is rainfall. Both groups have also complained about poor toilet facilities, inadequate shelter and the lack of security.
Minister Lashley had promised that infrastructural improvements were on the cards. We implore the ministry to make good on its pledge –– sooner rather than later.
In the coming days and weeks, no doubt, all eyes, including those of law enforcers, will be fixed on the PSV operators –– whether they will keep complying with the new law. We trust all will get and stay aboard, sticking with what is clearly a move in the right direction.
Let us all come clean!