Minibus and route taxi operators protested conditions at the Cheapside terminal, declaring they cannot compromise the safety and dignity of operators and commuters for the sake of trying to save a few dollars.
The Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) have said they are upset that persistent calls for improvement of the terminal’s facility have fallen on deaf ears.
The executive of AOPT conducted a walkthrough of the facility this afternoon, lamenting the lack of protection from the elements, non-existent demarcations for queuing and the fact that persons had to resort to answering the call of nature behind parked vehicles.
The alliance’s Public Relations Officer Mark Haynes described the situation as a “disaster waiting to happen.”
He said: “What we are seeing here today is untenable and the facility is clearly not fit for purpose.
“We believe that the commuters and the drivers should be able to operate in an environment that is safe.
“We are definitely not satisfied with what we are seeing especially as it relates to bathroom facilities, we don’t think that it is right that persons have to leave here and go elsewhere in order use a bathroom.
“Within the confines of this space there should be a number of bathrooms which commuters and workers can use.”
He told the media that his membership was at their breaking point as they have complained about the state of the terminal to successive governments but would have received nothing more than promises and excuses.
He said: “Every time we have brought this matter up, we are told that the money is not there to do anything about it.
“Our members are at the stage where they can’t take anymore, and they are demanding that something is done.
“If you look at the Constitution River Terminal (CRT), you can see how much things have improved, and we are saying that the same thing that happens there should happen here.
“We are not saying that they must implement the permanent fixes right away if funds are tight but there could be temporary measures that could be put in place in the meantime”
Also weighing in on the issue, AOPT chairman Roy Raphael reminded the authorities that earlier this year a ZR conductor was stabbed to death at the terminal, noting that nothing has changed in terms of the chaos at Cheapside.
Raphael said: “We essentially have a free for all here and this is a disaster waiting to happen.
” There needs to be urgent controls put in place because this simply cannot be allowed to continue,
Back in August, AOPT released a study which showed a stark difference in the behavior of operators at the Cheapside and that of the operators at the structured CRT.
The study showed since the new River Terminal began operations in September 2018, complaints about infractions committed by privately-owned public service vehicle operators plying routes from the terminal, have dropped by 90 per cent.It was noted that from 2014, the annual tally of complaints coming to AOPT, consistently hit the 1000 mark.