New bus fleet next year
Even as Minister of Transport John Boyce announced this week that the board was likely to add to its fleet next year, he likewise opened the possibility of new “transit stations” and additional routes as well.
Speaking at the launch of the board’s new Super Saver Card, dubbed the smart card, Boyce said: “We recognise that it is time for us to look seriously at changing or renewing some of our stock and this will be an urgent consideration in the new year.
“As to the quantity of buses we purchase, that is a matter for final decision of the board themselves and a recommendation to the Cabinet of Barbados for approval,” he said.
Adding that there were also plans to continue improving the bus terminals as well, in particular that at Speightstown, the minister noted that the additional routes across the ABC Highway from north to south had been successful thus far and were opening new opportunities for additional “stations” as well.
“I have certainly indicated to the Ministry of Transport and Works that we also need to join with the Transport Board and the Transport Authority in making sure that enough suitable shelters are erected around Barbados so as to make the public’s travel journeys even safer.
“I cringe at times and marvel more at the way we have been able to survive in this environment…, too many times with persons having to stand in the road at assigned bus stop; so although we have provided bus stops we really have not provided space for people to wait comfortably. This is something we want to address.”
He added too: “Clearly we have to also look at opportunities to address the issue of new terminals. It is not a new idea that the ABC Highway opens out tremendous opportunities in this regard, and that all those intersections like Hothersal, like Salters, like the Gary Sobers Roundabout and like the Warrens Business Centre offers new opportunities for the Transport Board or/and the Transport Authority to erect, in partnership with the private sector where possible, new terminals, and for us to open new routes across the criss-cross of our wonderful landscape.”
Such new routes would enable visitors to explore more of the island, he urged, while stating that he did not believe any private providers would suffer undue competition as there was “enough pie for us to share around Barbados”.
“These new intersectional terminals or transit stations, whatever we prefer to call them, will also provide us with opportunities for the execution of new routes in our public transport system.”
Additionally, Boyce said that they had seen some success as well with the introduction of photovoltaic panels on some bus shelters across the island, which had resulted in a reduction of the cost of supplying electricity to those stops. As a result he said there would be more of this in the future, as they continued to “embrace” renewable energy technology. (LB)