Less than five privately-owned public service vehicles (PSVs) are presently signed onto the Transport Augmentation Programme (TAP) but Government is not ready to give up on the scheme just yet.
With reports reaching Barbados TODAY about the lack lustre support for the initiative, acting assistant director for planning at the Transport Authority Carolyn Yarde has insisted all hope is not yet lost for the three-month-old programme.
Back in April, days before the TAP was scheduled to start, chairman of the Transport Authority Ian Estwick said while he hoped to have 100 PSVs sign onto the project, he was expecting “around 20 or so”.
One month later he revealed that 28 PSVs had signed on and that applications for 42 others were pending.
However, since then there has been a steady decline of interest from PSV operators, leading to the paltry numbers.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Yarde said it was early days yet and Government was not in a position to scrap the project.
And while she declined to give the number of private PSVs currently in the programme, she revealed that a review was being done with the goal of introducing some improvements.
“The TAP programme isn’t going as well as we had anticipated, but there are still persons in the programme so it is still ongoing and from what we have gathered so far those persons are not having any issues with it,” Yarde said.
“Whether it makes sense to continue, is being reviewed at this point in time to see how best we can shore up what we have, but persons are still expressing an interest in it. Daily we get queries from permit holders who want to know what it is about and what it is involved in it, so there is still some interest out there.
“The programme is still in its infancy…so it is still early days. We have not given up on TAP, so once we do a review and see where any issues that came up are, then we will know how to proceed from there, but TAP is still very much alive,” she added.
President of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael told Barbados TODAY that TAP was the brainchild of his organisation.
He said the initiative presented to Government was initially named the Transport Implementation Project (TIP), but was eventually tweaked and renamed.
However, he claimed, some of the changes made by Government were responsible for its failure thus far.
Raphael said if Government was willing to implement AOPT’s initial proposal, he believed the programme could be successful.
“The proposal that we gave to Government was workable but there were some adjustments done to it and some of the expectations that some operators went in with, they were unable to proceed and it created some problems for them.
“In the form in which we suggested, TAP would have worked, but in the form in which it was presented, we would have seen some issues there,” Raphael maintained.
“We still support TAP. We believe it is workable, but I believe that Government will have to sit with us again and revisit the whole concept of the project.”