One of the groups representing public service vehicle (PSV) operators is calling for representation on either the Transport Board or the Transport Authority, saying that lack of communication with the latter resulted in some minibus and ZR vans putting the brakes on their operations early, ahead of Tropical Storm Kirk.
The explanation came as Maynards, St Peter resident Cynthia Husbands expressed concern that PSVs had stopped plying their trade too early last night.
She told Barbados TODAY she was surprised that while PSV operators had an interest in operating on more routes across the country, they were quick to park their vehicles as soon as bad weather was approaching.
The elderly woman said she was satisfied that officials at the Met Office and Government officials “did the right thing by communicating”, but “the only thing that was disgusting was the minibuses and ZRs:
“How could you want to ply a whole island and yet still you gone home at 6 o’clock or 5 o’clock off the road and left the bare Transport Board buses? How could you? It is not acceptable,” said Husbands.
Following the passage of the storm, there were also noticeably fewer public transport vehicles operating. In fact, our news team spotted only two Transport Board buses and a handful of minibuses and ZRs while traversing the usually busy west coast for several hours.
Acknowledging that PSVs pulled their service a little early yesterday in anticipation of the storm, Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael blamed the situation on the lack of adequate communication from the Transport Authority.
He told Barbados TODAY the operators recently met with the Authority about formulating a policy for emergencies and national shutdown.
“They did not involve us in the discussions as it relates to the public transport and we move about 75 per cent of the public. I think it is unfortunate what happened yesterday that everybody engaged the Transport Board,” he said.
Raphael argued that if PSV operators had a seat on the board of the Transport Authority or the Transport Board, then what happened yesterday could have been easily avoided.
“We need to collaborate and that is why again we will renew our call for us to sit with the Transport Board. We were calling for a seat on the Transport Board because we find that there is no seating for the PSV on the Transport Authority. For us going forward, especially in the case of emergencies, I believe we need to collaborate more. What happened yesterday is very unfortunate,” said Raphael.
“I believe going forward we must either set up a committee working collaboratively with the Transport Board or we have to ask the Minister [of Transport] to allow us to have a seat on the Transport Board where we can work together,” he said, adding that this was important as they implemented the route rationalization and integration project.