Public service vehicles operating out of the Constitution River Terminal have begun installing scanners in a bid to thwart counterfeit cash being used to pay fares.
But the crime goes mostly unreported to
the police, an act they suggest is a waste of time.
Drivers and conductors who spoke to Barbados TODAY said the perpetrators board their vans with bogus $20 and $50 notes during rush hour when they are hurrying to make change for passengers.
But a PSV operator who works the Forde’s Road, Clapham and Britton’s Hill routes said he noticed counterfeits would attempt to pass the bad cash at night when the drivers have limited light to check the cash.
Charles said: “Mostly they would push a $50 and $100 at nights because they are risking.
“We would go to the police station and we are still out.
“We started to put in the counterfeit lights.”
Charles said one of the problems with reporting the receipt of bogus money to police is that they do not always know the person who handed it to them. In some cases, when they see the passenger again there is no police around to whom they can identify the culprit.
A Silver Sands PSV driver known as Kela said he too has installed a cash scanner in his vehicle to fight the problem.
He told Barbados TODAY: “I got a light on the bus that does show me counterfeit money from real money.
“What is it that we can do about that situation?
“It can be a bit frustrating, so it does not make sense pursuing it.
“But whatever the people come up with and it sounds good I would try it.”
A Silver Sands driver who identified himself as Junior reported receiving counterfeit notes three to four times a week, saying he is unsure how the problem could be rectified.
He said: “When we get fake money, it is dead [as] there is nothing we can do with it.
“Honestly, I do not know what you can do to stop it. For we PSV workers to stop and check everybody money it would be hard for us to do that.”
Ronald, another PSV operator on the Silver Sands route, said that the criminals have been targeting vans with driver-conductors during the evening rush hour.
He said: “If you do not have a conductor, they try to target you because they can always push the money at you when you are in a hurry to get you to change it.
“We have to be more vigilant in terms of how we check our money, maybe use some kind of equipment to check them. I have a pen that can check them now. So, if I am suspicious of your money, I mark it.”
Roland said he had previously taken the counterfeit money to the police but stopped, saying it was a tedious process.
“I did that a couple of years ago and the time that I spent there it was not worth it,” he said.
Steve, who operates on the Ellerton route, told Barbados TODAY that although he has not received any counterfeit money, he was made aware that some of his counterparts were receiving it early on mornings as well.
“Not only rush hours, during the day,” he said. “They are just getting in the vans and handing them the money.
“If you have [a lot] of money in your hand you cannot tell who gives you [the counterfeit one].
“So that is how they are going to target they are not identifying a single person.”
Steve suggested other operators should seek to install scanners on their vehicles to verify legitimate money.
He said: “The PSV vans should have something on the vans to test the money to see what is counterfeit from what real and that is the best thing to do.”
A Silver Hill PSV operator – Bling – said with the prevalence of counterfeit money, he prefers to allow the passenger to ride on his vehicle free than to have to deal with the fake cash.
He said: “I would let them go along with that and then I have to make change and I lost out. I would like it to come to a stop people out here working for an honest dollar and it would be very hard to lose out on that sort of money.” (LG)