Government’s Transportation Augmentation Programme (TAP) is finally beginning to gain some traction.
And at least three more vehicles will soon be added to its fleet, following a decision by two former Transport Board workers to use their severance to purchase minibuses for the programme. A third employee will join them when his severance is finalised at the end of May.
Chairman of the Transport Authority Ian Estwick this afternoon disclosed that as of last Friday 28 public service vehicles (PSVs) had signed up to TAP, while close to another 50 applications were being processed.
“As of Friday May 10 we were at 28 active and we had 42 pending. Those 42 that are pending are at various stages of the process and we had another three today, so I think it’s moving along nicely,” Estwick said during a press briefing at the authority’s Constitution River Terminal.
At that briefing, Adrian Gibbs, Fabian Thorne and Ryan Daniel who have spent a combined 59 years at the state-owned Transport Board were lauded by Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid for their decision to enter TAP.
The 52-year-old Gibbs and 49-year-old Daniel both accepted voluntary separation packages in the last phase of layoffs at the Transport Board in March, while Thorne, 44, has accepted a package in the upcoming wave of retrenchments set to take place this month.
“Essentially what they are doing is that all three are joining onto the TAP and the benefit is that the severance that they are accessing by virtue of having worked some 20 years at the Transport Board, they’re leveraging that severance to be able to purchase a vehicle and put that vehicle into TAP,” Dr Duguid said.
“So this is the perfect model of empowering our people who were drivers at the Transport Board for years and encouraging them to become entrepreneurs, to use and leverage not only the opportunity from the severance but also their experience and knowledge from working in the Transport Board to now come and offer their services. I want to use these three men as a model…”
Duguid said the three men would be given the opportunity to purchase duty-free vehicles.
Both Thorne and Daniel described their decision as “a dream come true”.
The three men said they would be encouraging other workers at the Transport Board to follow in their footsteps.
Gibbs, who worked as a driver for 20 years, told members of the media he had confidence in the programme.
“As a young man I still have to work. If I took the severance and don’t work it would go along and I would have nothing, so the reality is that you have to be focused as to what you do with the money.
“I have confidence in the TAP programme,” Gibbs said.
With the severance payment expected this week, Daniel said he was looking to purchase a vehicle as soon as the funds were received.
He admitted he had been working towards this goal.
“I had been working towards this for a good little while and I was only too happy to hear that the minister was ready to meet with us and I wasted no time in getting here,” Daniel said.
Thorne will be leaving his post as acting supervisor at monthend for what he described as a viable business venture.
“I think this is an excellent opportunity for me personally and for anyone to take their severance package and leave the Transport Board to start their own business.
“It’s an excellent business opportunity and I will encourage my comrades back at work to take the opportunity right now to use the severance and come onboard with the TAP programme,” Thorne said.