In another six days, the “real” opening of the Constitution River Terminal (CRT) will take place and Chairman of the Transport Authority Ian Estwick has served notice there will be zero tolerance to “ bad behaviour and hooliganism” at the facility.
“The owners [of PSVs], drivers, conductors and the commuters should take heed,” he warned at a meeting involving private stakeholders in public transport at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this evening.
Estwick made it clear it would not be business as usual at the CRT, as part of a new drive to transform the public transportation sector.
Chiding PSV owners, he urged them to stop shirking their responsibility by not holding “drivers and conductors accountable” for their conduct on the roads.
“No longer can you turn a blind eye to the playing of loud and filthy music on the vehicles…; the blaring of horns, whether standard or retrofitted; the excessive revving of engines in residential areas, in some cases between 5-5:30 in the morning; driving on the Speightstown route and others in the middle of the day causing traffic to be backed up; stopping to pick up passengers other than at a designated bus stop; driving or stopping in the middle of the road in an effort to block another PSV from overtaking, but in the process obstructing private vehicular traffic; drinking alcohol while driving passengers; speeding; talking on cell phones while driving; going off route; drivers and conductors threatening passengers and road users with offensive weapons; …and urinating on public property or a private citizen’s property in Bush Hall and other areas,” he said, outlining a litany of complaints commuters had filed with the Transport Authority.
As part of tough new measures, Estwick announced that the wearing of uniforms within the CRT would be enforced.
“Simply put, any vehicle operated by a driver or conductor not wearing the prescribed uniform will not be permitted to load or off load in the CRT,” he said, reminding those whom he claimed were seeking “to frustrate the introduction of proposed new uniforms”, that both the Road Traffic Act and the Road Traffic Amendment regulations had approved the implementation of a dress code.
The new terminal will also be operating under the watchful eye of police during its opening hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
“There will be security to man the new concourse and they will be supported by select officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force who will have a permanent presence in the new terminal,” he said.
And there are also efforts to afoot to ensure that PSV drivers and conductors refrain from flouting the rules even when they are on the road.
According to Estwick, the Authority has been engaging with a few technology companies and individuals on various systems that would provide real time monitoring of PSVs on the road.
“These systems will allow the authority’s personal officers and police at the CRT outpost to monitor any on-road infractions by PSVs, including speeding, dragging, not stopping at designated bus stops, going off route, and the like. It will also allow us to see, first hand, any accidents or mass casualty events involving PSVs and allow us to alert first responders in a quicker time than currently exists,” he said.
The Transport Authority chairman also hinted that changes were coming for the area outside the CRT which is currently used for vending.
He said that while it was not his intention to displace vendors, the area presented “certain challenges and risks, including fire, security and health,” and the authority would be engaging with vendors to see how best the area can be aesthetically improved.