The island’s Transport Authority intends to go after undisciplined and lawless public service vehicle (PSV) operators in a more aggressive manner during the coming year.
Director Alex Linton said some operators have already been sanctioned following hearings before that regulatory state-run agency’s disciplinary committee.
“We have had some disciplinary sessions already. We are scheduling some more. We just trying to get that little bit sorted out, but I know we did have a couple already where we have taken some action. We will continue doing so. We are trying to put some processes in place that would improve what we had in place. From the new board you are going to see a more aggressive approach for really reigning in the controls,” Linton told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
He said with the power vested in it, the authority can impose its own penalties such as suspension or revocation of permits and issue warnings.
Asked if any of the authority’s actions have resulted in operators appearing in court, he explained: “So the court is a different system. For instance, if the police brings a case, it would go to court. But with the authority we would take action on the permit holder relative to suspensions, warnings, revocations, things of that nature.”
He explained that the insurance companies can also take action.
“So it’s not a one-man approach, there are various approaches. The insurance, if they find that the operator is not complying and they get reported, they have the powers to yank the insurance. If the police finds someone has committed an offence, they would be charged under the necessary legislation. If we receive information and we investigate and conduct our hearing and find out that this is an offence as well, we can also take some action. So it’s a multi-prong approach,” said Linton.
He also pointed out that the police could use the Transport Authority Act to prosecute a public service vehicle operator, which covers ZRs, mini buses, taxis, coaches and Transport Board buses.
“A police officer can use the Act and that PSV operator can find himself before the law court,” he stated.
Linton said Barbadians are capitalizing on the various social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook, along with the traditional telephone hotline to make complaints about the conduct of those in the sector.
“It is working out well. We are getting good WhatsApp information. We are collating the information for our disciplinary procedures. We are even getting videos, which is pretty good and the phone number is accessible to all and sundry. Our Facebook is up and our website will be launched very shortly. So there are a lot of platforms for the public to contact us on,” he added.
While Linton could not say which was the most common complaint at this stage, the issues of off route ZRs and mini buses are definitely on the list.
“The complaints which we see . . . I’m not saying it is the most common, but the ones we see are being off route and playing of loud and lewd music. Those two I would not identify as the greatest, but we do see those two coming through. Then customer service from some operators is not the best,.” he stated, adding that there are some great operators on the roads, but others give the sector a bad name.
Linton told Barbados TODAY people who are victims of excessive taxi fares, could also seek redress through the authority.