The recent decision to approve additional public service vehicle (PSV) permits was done mainly to facilitate Government’s Transport Augmentation Programme (TAP). Minister of Transport Dr William Duguid claimed today. The move, he said, was also done to “regularise excesses” by the former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration.
But that was all the tight-lipped minister would say during an interview with Barbados TODAY in the yard at Parliament.
He said: “Increases in the quotas were done to regularize excesses by the previous administration who had exceeded the limits and also to facilitate TAP.
“The Transport Augmentation Programme will improve as a result.”
Barbados TODAY reported last Friday that Cabinet had taken a decision to issue over 100 new ZM, ZR and minibus permits.
But a source close to the development told Barbados TODAY the new permits had originally been authorized by the Freundel Stuart administration.
The move angered PSV owners and operators who charged that routes were already overcrowded.
President of the Association Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael said he was shocked by the decision, as Government had not consulted with the operators’ body.
Government is hoping that the increased permits will breathe new life into TAP, which has been suffering from a lack of interest.
Barbados TODAY learned last month that less than five privately owned PSVs were signed onto TAP.
And while that number was not verified, acting assistant director for planning at the Transport Authority, Carolyn Yarde, admitted the programme had not yet lived up to expectations.
But she maintained that Government was not yet ready to give up on TAP.
Yarde said a review was currently being done to ascertain how the programme could be improved.
She said: “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.
“Whether it makes sense to continue, it 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.”