by Marlon Madden
One private sector transport group will be pushing for privately owned public service vehicle (PSV) operators to have monitors travelling on their vehicles to ensure the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations.
Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael said this was something that officials were “seriously thinking” about introducing, adding that the idea would have to first be discussed among PSV operators.
He said while commuters were generally adhering to the COVID-19 protocols, he was concerned that there were still some individuals complaining of others getting in ZRs and minibuses and removing their masks especially when there was no conductor present.
“We are looking at the possibility of meeting the stakeholders. It is just a plan that we have at this stage where we will be putting monitors on all of our PSVs. They will be trained to ensure that persons comply with the COVID regulation,” said Raphael.
However, he said the idea would also have to be presented to Government as they seek assistance to cover associated costs, adding that the PSV monitor would need to be trained and “governed” by a transport coordinator to be stationed at the AOPT command centre.
“Sometimes masks become inconvenient for some persons but we have to be mindful of people entering our vehicles are safe. So we will be approaching the Ministry of Transport very shortly and one of the proposals we will be putting on the table is that we will be asking for assistance from the Ministry of Health and the COVID Unit to help us train at least 15 PSV COVID Monitors that will be allowed to ride on our buses to ensure that people comply,” he explained.
“We are looking at that very, very seriously. In terms of funding, we will put part of the funding, but we will be approaching the government to see if they could put at least 50 per cent. We feel it is very critical at this stage because although we are seeing a satisfactory compliance from commuters, we are still seeing one or two persons out there who will create some issues in terms of not complying,” said Raphael.
Raphael said his association would also be continuing its lobbying efforts for a bus terminal to be established in Warrens, insisting that it would help to ease traffic congestion in that area and create new routes.
“We are going to be stepping up our discussions with the Ministry of Transport as it relates to a terminal at Warrens. That terminal at Warrens is critical.
“We will be seeking some level of partnership with the Government, other associations and other stakeholders who want to get on board to ensure we have a terminal at Warrens because it is fast becoming a town. That will be a part of discussions going forward,” he said.
The PSV officials recently met with the new board of the Transport Authority, where they outlined several of their issues including the over one-year-old concern of PSV operators still being reported for loading passengers at a temporary bus stop at the old Fairchild Street market in The City after 7 p.m.
“Transportation is too important. Although we have a seat at the board, we can’t wait for board meetings to discuss issues . . . There are a number of issues on the table still not resolved including route rationalization, extension of routes, creation of new routes, abolishing of old routes that just don’t make any sense and the issues relating to bus stops – the placement of bus stops, a number of bus stops not painted or replaced,” he explained. [email protected]