Barbados needs a reliable public transportation system that utilizes modern technology and encourages motorists to leave their vehicles at home, Government Senator Andre Worrell told the Senate yesterday.
To improve the existing system, he said, routes would have to be more interconnected, with depots in more areas and buses travelling from one end of the island to the other, instead of focusing on Bridgetown; buses would have to stick to schedule to give commuters the confidence they could get to their destinations on time; and technology could also be utilized – in the form of an app, for instance – so that commuters know when their buses could be expected to arrive.
“If we work those things out, in terms of changing our public transportation network and improving it, you would find that you would reduce the number of vehicles of the road and reduce the level of congestion,” Worrell said during debate on a resolution to approve the compulsory acquisition of several parcels of lands to improve the road infrastructure under the Warrens Traffic Safety Improvement Project.
“Barbados does not have the physical land space, such as places like Trinidad or Jamaica, that we could even consider going to a six-lane highway. . . . [Therefore] one of the best ways of managing [the traffic] is by providing adequate public transportation.”
In response to problems of traffic congestion, he reiterated a suggestion made earlier by Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo that flexi-time be implemented, and offered the idea that more recreational activity be provided in Warrens to encourage people working there to delay their departure from the area on evenings, as a means of reducing rush-hour traffic.
“Many of the offices that operate in Warrens still work on the eight to 4:30 [p.m.] basis. It is a headache trying to get to Warrens at eight o’clock in the morning. When you think about all the productive time that people waste on the road trying to navigate traffic, we really need to look at that,” Worrell said. “We have to look at traffic management and how it impacts on productivity in the workplace.”