Opposition Shadow Minister Trevor Prescod today described Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley as “a miserable failure”, while declaring “a crisis” in the public transportation sector.
Amid reports that there were only 60-odd buses in operation at the state-run Transport Board, Prescod warned that three times that number was required at the very minimum to service the island.
He also lamented that the situation was negatively affecting commuters – including school children – many of whom were forced to wait for hours for buses at the Fairchild Bus Terminal on Monday evening.
“It cannot be fair that after a long day at work or school that passengers are abandoned for hours upon hours in the bus terminal with no sign of a single bus to get them home,” Prescod said, while raising concern for the safety of passengers, “females in particular, some of whom may have to walk along dark country roads to reach their homes”.
He complained that “Government has not bought a single new bus since coming to office and despite a series of expensive maintenance contracts had failed the working class of Barbados, who have no other means of getting to work, to the hospital or the supermarket”.
Laying blame squarely at Lashley’s feet, Prescod also warned that “no amount of trips to Florida at the expense of taxpayers to look at the public transport system there will erase his legacy of broken down buses, drivers waiting around all day at the Transport Board with no buses to drive, the cost to the country of an inefficient bus service and the suffering of commuters who have to depend on Transport Board buses for their transportation needs”.
He also accused the minister of giving “vague assurances” that private operators would be roped in to alleviate the crisis in school transportation during a DLP political meeting last Sunday night.
“It was no surprise that he was chided by one of the transport association leaders for making such an announcement before any discussion with the organizations that represent the private transport sector,” he said after the head of the Association of Private Transport Operators Morris Lee suggested to Barbados TODAY yesterday that Lashley was premature in making such a declaration without first discussing it with either of the two private sector transport bodies.