By Emmanuel Joseph
The organisation that represents the largest membership of privately-owned public service vehicles (PSVs) wants legislation to fix fines for ZRs and minibus operators who commit traffic offences.
Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael suggested that it is counter-productive and time-consuming for PSV operators to have to spend time in court, especially at peak times when a fixed fine would be a more efficient and effective option.
“We find that too many ZR operators go before the Magistrates’ Court when they break the law. We believe that the police can give what we call a fixed fine to these offenders and let them pay the fine,” Raphael told Barbados TODAY in an interview.
“When you take a ZR operator off the road at one o’clock during what is called peak time, you are basically stopping school children and other people from getting home.”
He also suggested that the legislation should provide
for the offending PSV operator to accumulate a certain number of fixed fines before he is required to appear before a magistrate.
“So, I think that that day has come [for authorities to revisit this matter] and introduce legislation that would allow persons who operate public service vehicles to pay a fixed fine. We wouldn’t want a fellow to chalk up fixed fines of 60 and so on. So, there should be a cut-off number – 40 to 45 in a given year. That is the direction in which we should be going,” Raphael advocated.
“I think that [40 to 45] is a reasonable amount, and if you go over that, you should have to go to court.”
The courts have been imposing such fines as $800 on PSV drivers for picking up passengers at stops other than designated areas and in one case, ordered a ZR operator to pay as much as $3 000 after his “milkshake” led to an accident that resulted in the amputation of a schoolgirl’s arm.
Three years ago, the court heard that a minibus driver who appeared before it on a dangerous driving charge had already accumulated over 90 traffic convictions.