Two separate videos circulating on social media, which seem to show public service vehicle (PSV) operators engaging in reckless and dangerous practices, have caught the attention of police and transport authorities, as well as PSV owners.
The videos emerged within the last two weeks, with one showing a route taxi racing through the River Terminal with its conductor hanging through the door of the vehicle while onlookers cheer, while the second shows a minibus packed to capacity, with at least three persons outside the door while the bus was in motion.
Director of the Barbados Transport Authority Alex Linton told Barbados TODAY the authority was actively tracking the drivers involved and they would face the full brunt of the law.
“These things are against the law. There is a set amount of passengers that a vehicle is allowed to carry and overcrowding is dangerous, unsafe and we really need to stop these practices.
“The gentleman that was outside the ZR that was just total recklessness . . . .Doing these daredevil stunts is not what public transport is all about,” he said.
Linton urged the public to advise the transport authority whenever they see such behaviour exhibited by PSV operators instead of publishing footage on social media.
“If the public see things like this I would prefer that they contact the transport authority. Let us know what they see and send us the footage. I would rather it come to us than for it to circulate in the media. We want to deal with it because we can take action.”
The scenes captured on the videos have angered Interim Chairman of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) Morris Lee, who called on police to deal with the perpetrators.
Lee described this behaviour as reckless, and said it should never be condoned.
“My position in relation to any videos of that matter remains the same. No kind of recklessness, indiscipline or misbehaviour by any PSV, whether it be a minibus or ZR, requires defence.
“There are laws on the statue book that are in place to govern and owner, operator, passengers or law enforcement officer should never condone that kind of behaviour,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“As far as I’m concerned those individuals that have participated in that behaviour need swiftly to be brought before the authorities and whatever action has to be taken has the support of the association.”
PSV drivers have a bad reputation and are not viewed favourably by the public, an image APTO and the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) was seeking to change.
This is why Lee complained that such behaviour by some drivers was making the entire group look bad.
“There are several operators who do not participate in this behaviour. What actions like these do is to make it bad for everybody, so we do not support it. It would not be tolerated and needs to be deal with,” he said.
His comments were echoed by AOPT Chairman Roy Raphael, who added that while there had been a decline in the number of complaints against workers in the PSV sector within the last three to four years, the videos were giving the industry a bad reputation.
“I am asking those operators that break the law to cease from doing it. They are making us look bad and we aren’t tolerating that. The time has come to fight back.
“We are asking the Ministry of Transport to go to Parliament and give more authority to us to deal with these guys that continue to break the law,” Raphael said.
Meantime, Public Relation Officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force Acting Inspector Roland Cobbler told Barbados TODAY lawmen would continue to enforce the traffic laws, while urging drivers to act responsibly on the island’s roads.
“We will police these types of behaviours. Once we see videos that show a criminal act or acts that endanger the public we will have to intervene.
“The drivers must understand that they create a potential hazard for other road users. No one can dictate when an accident may happen, but there are certain road practices that can result in them resulting and loss of lives,” Cobbler said.
There have been 19 road fatalities so far this year, nearly twice the ten recorded last year.