A proposal by the Freundel Stuart administration to hire tour coaches to assist the state-run Transport Board in transporting passengers during peak periods has been branded as illegal.
Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael told Barbados TODAY this morning Government could not effect such a move without first changing the Road Traffic Regulations.
Minister of Transport & Works Michael Lashley has announced that the plan was to be implemented before the end of the Christmas season and was likely to run into the middle of next year.
The plan is based on a draft framework, which Lashley said was already completed and would allow minibuses and tour coaches to go into the bus terminals during peak times and transport passengers on 14 routes.
However, Raphael said his organization was currently seeking legal advice on the matter.
“In my personal view . . . it is illegal,” he told Barbados TODAY, while suggesting that Government would need to have parliamentary approval before its proposal could be implemented.
However, with the House of Assembly currently in recess until next year, Raphael suggested that the island’s transport authorities should really meet with his organization to discuss suitable remedies to the problems facing the transport sector.
In recent weeks, angry commuters have been complaining about lengthy waits, with the state run Transport Board said to be facing an acute shortage of buses that was affecting its ability to meet heavy commuter demands, especially during peak periods.
“As you recognize, some of our routes, particularly Silver Sands and Silver Hill in Christ Church, and Wanstead, we have a number of buses on those roads that I believe we can assist in moving those persons during the peak time. That is the solution,” Raphael said ahead of a meeting this evening of the private operators of public service vehicles and their attorney.
Following tonight’s meeting at the headquarters of the National Union of Public Workers, the PSV Joint Committee will issue a statement on the matter, as well as proposals for a fare hike.