With change at the top of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO), the chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), Roy Raphael, has expressed hope for the repair of the contentious relationship between the two factions in privately-owned public transport.
Two weeks ago, APTO, which represents drivers and conductors, elected a new executive, with attorney-at-law and former parliamentarian, Kenneth ‘Kenny’ Best, replacing Morris Lee at the helm. In recent times both bodies have espoused diverging views on the direction the industry ought to go.
While paying tribute to Lee’s role as an advocate for privately-owned public service vehicles, Raphael said that he is hopeful that under the APTO’s new leadership, the two PSV bodies can enjoy greater collaboration.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY he said: “I believe that there would always be different views as it relates to the sector.
“I also believe that when it comes to coming together and common ground, I believe that the PSV sector would benefit from this.
“It is true that APTO and AOPT have had some diverging views, but we have always seen and respected Morris Lee as the godfather in this business.
“He has done a lot for PSV advocacy.
“We both wanted what was best for the sector but we each took different routes.”
Raphael contends that given the current climate within the sector and myriad issues still to be addressed, it would be best for the entities to have a united front on most matters. He also expressed hope that the two organisations can finally decide on a representative to sit on the Transport Authority’s board.
He said: “The Alliance Owners of Public Transport welcomes the new executive of APTO, and we plan to work closely with them to make sure that the sector lives up to its full potential as it relates to providing the public with the best service possible going forward.
“We are looking forward to sitting and discussing with them all of the areas that still need to be addressed with the sector.”
He added, “We still have the matter of duty-free concessions and other issues to be looked at.
“Under Morris Lee, we were not able to identify someone to sit on the Transport Authority Board and we are hoping that this time around we can have that matter resolved.
“We are willing to meet with the new executive of APTO to see if we can identify someone in the shortest possible period, as this is a critical issue.”