City explorers interested in learning more about the rich history of Barbados’ capital now have a more comfortable and environmentally friendly way of doing so.
It’s called the Solar Express, which was first introduced by the Small Business Association (SBA) five months ago, but only officially began its tours of Historic Bridgetown on Monday.
SBA Chief Executive Officer Lynette Holder told Barbados TODAY one of the main objectives of the one-year pilot project, funded in part by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in The City.
“This is our small effort at trying to promote renewable energy projects in The City in particular. We are excited not only about the partnership with the UNDP . . . but also the relationship with the BIDC [Barbados Investment and Development Corporation] which has come on board and provided this space for us which we can have as our assembly point for the tours,” Holder said ahead of Monday’s tour, which departed from the Pelican Village assembly point.
“As we continue, we anticipate that we will be really able to provide that inner city shuttle for our tourists and locals. We anticipate that over the next few months we will be able to impact in excess of 500 people with this product. Hopefully the project will also be able to generate some more economic activity as others come on board and partner with us to be able to sustain this after the project comes to an end. So we are excited about it. This is really going to revolutionize transport in The City,” she added.
Tours aboard the ten-seater solar-powered vehicle, will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
National Coordinator of the GEF/SGP David Bynoe hailed the project as one that will benefit both the environment, as well as businesses.
Bynoe said he anticipated a strong interest from both tourists and locals who wanted to learn more about Bridgetown, adding that the initiative ties in perfectly within the UNDP’s development goal number seven – access to affordable and clean energy for all by 2030.
“We are pleased in terms of this initiative. I found that the SBA has been an excellent partner in implementing this. This is one of our first solar transport projects within Barbados. It is a very interesting and informative tour, a tour that not only tourists will enjoy but locals will definitely enjoy it as well because they will learn more about their country than they already know,” he said.
“We are impressed that it is done using renewable energy. You are having a good enjoyable tour but at the same time you are not impacting on the environment negatively. So it is a double dividend, a win-win situation,” Bynoe added.
During the approximately one hour-long guided tour, patrons are given interesting facts about various historical locations, including Parliament building, Heroes Square and Independence Square. There are also many exciting facts about people of note, including national heroes Sarah Ann Gill and Clement Payne.