Just four days after the ‘real’ opening of the new Constitution River bus terminal and already there is controversy at the new facility for public service vehicles.
Operators on the 3D Bridgetown-Airport route went on strike this morning, claiming that the current set up placed them at a disadvantage. Drivers took their vehicles off the road from 11 a.m. but returned at 2 p.m. after their representative body assured them that they would seek to have the matter addressed urgently.
Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), Roy Raphael, told Barbados TODAY that the Route 3D operators were upset because the number 11 vans, which essentially operated a slightly shorter version of the same Christ Church route, were loading passengers on a separate concourse. According to Raphael, this meant that the number 11 vans were overwhelming the competition with sheer numbers.
“We learned that the 3D men were off the road because they had some issues with parking. They felt that there should be a loading bay that carries everybody that travels on that particular Christ Church route,” said Raphael.
The number 11 route has 75 vans on that route, he said, “which means that persons would congregate on the platform that has the most vans available”, he said.
The AOPT chairman revealed that the matter has been brought to the attention of the Transport Authority with a meeting set for the morning.
“We told them that there was going to be some issues but these are the early days. We don’t expect all of them to be resolved in a day but this one, which could be resolved in an hour. We tried to meet with the director of the Transport Authority today but he was not in office.
“So we told them to go back to work and we would meet with the Authority at 10 am tomorrow and we expect that the matter is going to be easily resolved,” Raphael said.
But the advocate for privately owned public service vehicle operators and owners, made it clear that in the unforeseen event that the issue proves too difficult to resolve, AOPT was prepared to ramp up action.
“We should embrace the terminal and we understand that is a new way of operating in the sector. However, we certainly don’t want problems to escalate as they did today and we don’t want a situation where others come and join the strike. We are prepared to talk with the Transport Authority but if the matter is not resolved we are prepared to take further action on this,” said Raphael, who also suggested that route taxis on some of the more heavily subscribed routes be placed elsewhere.