Give us a proper transportation service!
This is the cry of residents of Fairy Valley, Christ Church, who said they were fed up of the daily waits for what seems like eternity for a bus.
The residents said this problem has been ongoing for a very long time, but it has escalated in recent times, with only one Government run bus from the state-owned Transport Board serving the community located just behind Grantley Adams International Airport.
To add insult to injury, they said, privately run public service vehicle (PSV) operators who serve the 3D route, which includes the airport and Oistins, were refusing to travel the full distance, forcing commuters to disembark before completing their journey.
“The PSVs just go to Parish Land, straight to the airport and back down to town. They don’t come up here. If you get in the van and they ask you where you are going and you say Fairy Valley they say, ‘we aren’t going up there’ and people have to get out and walk,” an upset Shelia Robinson told Barbados TODAY.
“The bus service is very bad, honestly. This is not only now . . . [this] is years now. BLP time and DLP time we suffer for transportation over here very badly, especially the Transport Board buses.
“The Transport Board buses don’t come too often. This is really depressing and not good enough for a district that have so many people in it. They don’t treat us good when it comes to transportation. Up to Saturday I was in the terminal and I waited hours for a bus to get home,” Robinson added.
Another resident, Sharon Pilgrim, was awaiting transportation when Barbados TODAY visited the community.
She expressed concern that PSV operators had been given permits to service the entire route, but kept refusing to take residents to their final destination.
“The PSVs have up the big sign saying Fairy Valley, and when you asked if they are going they say, ‘no, we are not going to Fairy Valley, that is too far’. They just take us to Time Bottom and we have to walk the rest. What I don’t understand is that they go all the way to the airport, but can’t come down in here, and the airport is further.”
“It makes me feel very angry. I mean they have the permission to come up here and we still have to walk so far with your groceries and whatever weight you have in your hands. We are not being treated well at all,” Pilgrim lamented.
Yvette Cox recalled the days when there was better service and the first Transport Board bus would get there by 6 a.m.
However, she said things have changed, and it could be as late as 11:30 a.m. before a bus arrives.
“Sometimes when the bus come for 11:30 it done work and going back to the depot and imagine that is the first bus for the day. We have a big issue out there with transportation. It is a big inconvenience. We cannot catch the airplanes that land right in front of us. I want them to please help us get out and get in,” Cox said.
“We have to walk from Time Bottom to where we live in Fairy Valley and that is a long distance. This has been coming on for a long time,” she added.
The residents said their only saving grace was PSV operator Grafton Stuart, who was present for the Barbados TODAY visit.
Stuart said it was worrying that the community had to depend on him as the sole reliable provider of transportation.
“The only person who would come this route is me. I can’t sleep at night knowing that these people out here are out and can’t get home. If these people are out I don’t go off the road. That is just how I am. I think something should be really done about this problem. Something want doing with the Transport Board; these people pay taxes,” he said.
Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport Roy Raphael told Barbados TODAY his association had been made aware of the situation, while warning that it was illegal for PSV operators to refuse to complete a designated route.
“We are aware and have heard from residents that the 3D vans are supposed to go down to Fairy Valley, but we understand some of them don’t go due to circumstances. Some of them say they don’t go there because it isn’t safe.
“But what we want to encourage operators of these PSVs on the route is to complete the route. It is against the law for them not to complete the route. What we will have to do is meet with the Transport Authority very shortly to address that problem. But we want to encourage the drivers to do the whole route,” Raphael said.
Efforts to reach Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager at the Transport Board Lynda Holder for a comment proved unsuccessful up to the time of publication.