Public service vehicle (PSV) operators have welcomed plans by the authorities to address problems of lighting, inadequate bathroom facilities, and drainage in the River Terminal in the City.
Following a tour Monday morning, along with other Government officials, Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley, who has described the facility as a health and environmental hazard, also revealed plans to transform the old building to the north of the van stand into a new terminal, providing better facilities for commuters, as well as ZR and minibus operators.
Mark Marshall, a PSV operator who has been operating in that location for more than 20 years, told Barbados TODAY he supported any move to upgrade the current facilities.
“I think that structure which they are looking to renovate and use as a facility for the terminal is the appropriate size that we need down here because the one that we currently have is inadequate, and you have thousands of people passing through here every day. We need better facilities and I understand there are a lot of facilities for toilet in that building,” he added.
Marshall said he was particularly concerned that several stalls were operating without running water and lacked proper lighting.
“You are setting up yourself for robbery in these conditions,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“The other main concern I have is that when the rain falls in here is like a cesspool,” said Marshall, pointing out that “what you are seeing now is pretty good. I have seen the good and the bad”.
Meanwhile, Clyde Nurse, who operates on the Route 9, said while he welcomed the planned terminal upgrade, there was need for the authorities to put more controls in place as a matter of priority.
For instance, he said there were some ZR drivers who simply refused to queue up when loading their vehicles and often were found blocking the exit.
“The other thing I would like to see removed is the people that come liming in here on evenings on bicycles,” Nurse said, explaining that “just the other day a driver ran over a fellow bicycle and he wanted money for it.
“That is something I would like to see stop,” added Nurse.
Route 11 ZR driver Ophneal Kellman, who has been operating in the River Terminal for the past 18 years, said he welcomed improvements to the area but he was more concerned about the drainage conditions.
“When the rain falls out here is very bad with the water. You can hardly [find place to] walk. Passengers can hardly get to the vans. I would like to see improvements in that and the road. When you come in at the entrance you can see how it is,” Kellman said.
The three operators said they had no problem adhering to the rule of wearing a uniform and encouraged colleagues who were yet to wear uniforms to start doing so.
“If I had somebody driving my van they would have to be wearing uniform. I don’t see why they won’t do it. If you go to work at the Transport Board, you got to wear the uniform. If you go to work at Cave Shepherd, you are going to wear something marked Cave Shepherd. I don’t see why they can’t put on the uniform now,” said Nurse.
Kellman also described the move to enforce the uniform rule as “a good thing”, while stating, “Some of the fellows are too dirty.
“They currently dress with their boxers showing and they are bending over people. It does not look good,” he said.