A flat pay may be the route Public Service Vehicle (PSV) drivers and conductors may have to take as owners seek to bring about order on the island’s roads.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY in an exclusive interview this afternoon, Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael said the proposal, which was still at the discussion stage, offered a potential solution to issues, such as “hustling” and “bad driving” on the roads, both major concerns of PSV owners and the authorities.
“We believe that if we give the driver a flat pay, and there is a schedule where he or she can go on just like the Transport Board, everybody basically would be happy,” he said. “Right now some owners complain that they don’t get all the money they ask for in the lease. The drivers don’t complain because they get their money despite what happens.”
Raphael said the proposal for a pilot project involving a flat pay to ZR and minibus drivers came out of a recently held meeting attended by members of AOPT, the Association of Public Transport Operators, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and another private association, at NUPW’s Dalkeith Road, St Michael headquarters.
He said in an effort to bring the idea to fruition, there had to be consultations with operators, owners and relevant Government agencies including the Transport Authority and Ministry of Transport and Works. He admitted, however, that PSV owners were aware that some of their drivers may be reluctant about accepting the flat pay proposal.
Raphael said this was why much needed thought and planning had to take place before such a system could be introduced. “It is something again that we have to examine but most organizations agreed that we can go that route to stop the ‘rebelling’ and bring about more discipline on the road. The reality will be if he [operator] doesn’t work because he works for a flat pay, then I still have to pay him.”
Raphael also said there were also some PSV owners who may think the project cannot work because they may have tried it to some extent before. At the same time, there were others willing to give the project a try, he added.
“So right now we are trying to get as much information to see how best we can do it. If we can do it on a pilot project, and if we do it eventually, then everybody would have to come onboard,” the AOPT chairman said.