Tropical Storm Kirk is being blamed for stalling the Transport Board’s efforts to improve bus service across the island.
Amid a growing chorus of complaints about bus shortages, the public bus company this evening issued an apology, while at the same time cautioning that delays were likely to continue for the time being.
According to the Board, Tropical Storm Kirk which dumped heavy rains across the island last Thursday and Friday affected 40 of its working 110 buses.
“A number of buses which traversed areas with rushing and/or high water levels experienced damaged panels and other electrical issues. This situation resulted in approximately 40 buses having to be removed from service. Since then, of those buses, we were able to return seventeen to service,” the Transport Board said in a statement.
But the bus company’s efforts to fix the faulty buses have also hit a snag.
A container of parts to be used in the maintenance and refurbishment project was damaged at port in Jamaica en route to Barbados, further delaying repairs to a number of buses, the Transport Board said.
“This delay in the access to parts has led to a domino effect. Buses that are awaiting inspection by the regulatory authority (Ministry of Transport Works and Maintenance) have also been impacted and are presently not operational until issues identified can be corrected.
“All of the above have contributed to the situation that we are presently experiencing,” the statement added.
Angry commuters, subjected to vexing transport delays on the road and at bus terminals, have taken to social media and the airwaves, crying for relief.
One commenter wrote, “This is becoming a nightmare for many of us. It is a shame.”
Another said, “I often have to wait in the Fairchild Street bus stand for three and four hours to get a bus to St John; this is ridiculous.”
A third commuter said, “we have been left stranded morning, noon and night in St Andrew. This is not good enough.”
The Transport Board – earmarked for restructuring and possible privatisation under an IMF-sponsored reform of public bodies, coupled with an impending bus fare increase – appealed in the statement for the public’s patience as it continued efforts to end the bus shortage.