Operators of privately-owned public service vehicles (PSVs) will come under greater scrutiny from next year, as owners attempt to crackdown on unruly behaviour.
The umbrella organization of PSV owners has announced plans to keep a close eye on drivers by introducing a command centre from which the vehicles, as well as drivers’ behaviour, can be monitored.
Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael told Barbados TODAY this would be done through global positioning system (GPS) navigational facilities and a rapid response system.
“Next year God willing we are going to be opening our own command centre. The command centre will have two components. The first component will be the monitoring of all PSVs via a GPS system . . . and the public will get an opportunity to see where the next bus will be. And then the second phase of the command centre will see a patrol unit where inspectors will be patrolling and actually responding to reports out there, particularly from complaints from the command centre,” Raphael explained.
He said the inspectors were expected to be provided by the Transport Authority through the Ministry of Transport, and would be assigned to the PSV command centre.
He said the organization was in the process of identifying a venue near the new River Bus Terminal on Nursery Drive, The City to establish the centre, and was hoping that it would be operational by the middle of 2018.
In the meantime, Raphael said, the AOPT had already launched a pilot project with GPS facilities on 12 PSVs plying various routes.
“We need to have a number of the PSVs with GPS. Right now we are doing a pilot project where we have about 12 PSVs with GPS [units] and we can tell where they are and we can also monitor their speed, if they stop at a bus stop, if they are off route. We can monitor that now that we are about to put our command centre in place,” the spokesman for the PSV owners said.
Raphael said the playing of loud music by ZR and minibus drivers remained a worrying issue for the owners, many of whom, he said, did not spend time aboard the vehicles to monitor the operators.
He said there were still too many complaints from passengers about the noise levels and the type of music being played on these vehicles, charging that this lawlessness was taken place at a time when the association was trying to get the PSV owners to exercise greater control over those who operate their vehicles.
“We are very, very concerned . . . about the type of music being played, particularly what they [drivers] called promotional music, and we are getting a number of calls from the public, particularly about the type of lyrics being played on the vans . . . and some of them are loud, and they have some PSV operators who fail to cooperate with the passengers when asked to turn it down,” Raphael lamented.
“There are some PSV owners who just do not go on their vehicles to see what state the vehicles are in. So we are calling on the owners to be more mindful to take the opportunity go on their vehicles and witness what the public is concerned about. It is against the law generally to play music on public service vehicles,” he warned.
He cautioned that the new Road Traffic Act which should soon come into force, provides for the suspension of a permit for six months, after three complaints are made against an owner. The Act, which was recently passed by Parliament imposes tougher penalties for breaches and calls for random drug and alcohol testing.