Owners and operators of public service vehicles appear to be divided on Government’s proposed cashless system for paying to ride on buses and PSVs, Barbados TODAY has learned.
The proposal was made during a meeting Wednesday night of Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources Ian Gooding-Edghill and Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister Clyde Mascoll, and senior civil servants with the bus operators.
Chairman of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO), Kenneth Best declined to comment on the development but speaking for the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), spokesman Mark Haynes confirmed to Barbados TODAY that several PSV operators were not in favour of the suggestion that the Government would transfer the sums collected to them.
He said while the rollout of the cashless system might have to be tweaked, discussions were still at an early stage and nothing had been “cast in stone”.
Haynes said: “Talks are still in the preliminary stages in respect of the cashless system. The cashless system was on the drawing board now for quite a while, but I think what is happening now is that perhaps it may have to be tweaked one way or the other because in its original form it was not supposed to be this way, but now there are a number of players who are trying to vie for the cashless system, in terms of the people who are doing the networking and so on.
“Nothing is cast in stone because some persons are not happy with the manner in how they may get their funds because they believe that their funds may have to go through BRA (Barbados Revenue Authority) before they can get their funds.
“But there are to be subsequent meetings and a number of sub-committees have been set up to look at it in a much more detailed way. Nothing has been signed off as yet, it is still in the discussion stages. A number of technical tests are yet to be conducted by the technical people to see how best this system can be rolled out.”
Haynes explained there was a split in support between PSV owners and operators for the introduction of a cashless system.
While some were in favour of its implementation because they believe it would reduce robberies, others preferred to have cash in their hands at the end of every day.
“There is a divide; some people are for it and some people are not for it. There has always been a divide but the fact that some of the operators do get robbed on their vehicles it was felt that the cashless system is a safer system in that there would be no cash onboard vehicles to attract persons who wished to commit crimes against the operators and workers in general and this would help to safeguard the takings of the operators,” Haynes told Barbados TODAY.
Some concerned PSV owners complained to Barbados TODAY that they saw no reason why they should have to wait to be paid by Government.
“We are not employed by Government, we work privately. I am in support of the cashless system but I can’t understand why I cannot directly receive the money I work for,” one PSV owner said.
Another owner said he was fearful of having to wait long periods before being paid.
“I’m not comfortable with that suggestion at all. I prefer to work and get paid than to have to wait on Government to pay me,” he said. “Lord knows when I would receive the money.” ([email protected])