Private minibus and route tax operators might not like it but shifting their base from the roadside to the Speightstown Bus Terminal is for the safety of the travelling public, Transport Authority chairman Ian Estwick declared today.
He revealed that approximately 130 PSV operators on northern routes have been ordered to move to the western side of the terminal from September 1.
On a tour of the Speightstown terminal this afternoon, the chairman told reporters that the main road where PSVs were currently operating from was not safe for either them or commuters.
“This visit has been occasioned to afford the Transport Authority another look at the Speightstown terminal as we are planning to have the privately owned PSVs integrate with the Transport Board buses in this terminal.
“I haven’t had any feedback yet, but it will be naïve of me to think they will be responding positively, because it has been my experience in my first year [as chairman] that this is one sector that is extremely resistant to change.
“So I don’t expect that it will be a bed of roses for everybody, but it is something that has to happen. It is much too dangerous out there and I have seen schoolchildren climbing through bus windows, not only to the eastern side but to the western side, which means they are exposing themselves to traffic and we can’t sit back as an authority and let something like that happen because we wouldn’t be able to justify our existence.”
The authority is awaiting changes to the Omnibus Terminals Act – which allows only Transport Board buses to use the space – to allow PSVs to use the terminal, he added.
Estwick said: “We are looking to move in here September 1.
“The big thing we are waiting on is legislative changes to the Omnibus Terminals Act which right now only allows for Transport Board buses to come into any terminal except the Constitution River Terminal, so we’ve got to get that legislation changed to allow all three forms of public transportation to come in.”
The Transport Authority chairman said while some renovations had been done on the outside of the building to facilitate the PSVs, additional work had to be done internally, especially to the public bathrooms.
“We’ve done some alterations outside and I think some more have to be done in here,” Estwick told reporters. “I know the public toilets here are not in the best conditions and those have to be done very shortly and definitely before we move in the PSVs here, because then we will be increasing commuter traffic in here so we have to make sure everything is done properly.”
The Terminal Coordinator at the Transport Authority Rhonda Scantlebury took reporters on a short tour of the Speightstown station where she showed handrails and steps had already been built to facilitate the move.
She said five terminals would be made available to the PSVs.
Accommodations for disabled people was also being worked on and would be finalized before the transition process, Estwick said.