Bus stealing racket busted

PORT-OF-SPAIN – A major derelict bus-stealing racket has

been uncovered in which Public Transport Service Corporation

employees, licensing officers and private bus operators

may be involved.

The buses in question are scrapped PTSC buses, which

should have been discarded, but are finding themselves back out

on the roads, posing danger to commuters.

The PTSC fleet stands at 425 buses to date, according t

o officials. Of that number, 350 are on the road, several are

under repairs, while roughly 52 of them are carded for disposal,

and would have been sent to the Vehicle Maintenance Company

of Trinidad and Tobago to be scrapped.

However, sometime last year, one of the discarded PTSC

buses – TR 4 HAX 9221 – vanished from the VMCOTT

compound in Barataria.

Senior PTSC sources have said the disappearance of the bus

is linked to a covert operation orchestrated from within the

walls of the PTSC.

A senior source close to the investigation of the

disappearance of TR 4 has confirmed that the bus was sent to

VMCOTT’s compound in 2011 to be dismantled and discarded,

but that never happened.

PTSC investigators say based on information they

obtained, the last time TR 4 was seen on the compound

was February 2012.

No one seemed to know where the bus had gone,

but following several leads, CCN (TV6 and the Express)

found the bus parked in a garage in Rio Claro on Friday,

September 27.

The garage is tucked away on a lonely farm road on Ministry

of Agriculture lands.

The bus was found more than a year and a half after it had

been plucked mysteriously from the VMCOTT compound.

At the garage, PTSC investigators and Rio Claro police found

tangible evidence of the bus being prepared for transformation.

Spray guns and other paraphernalia were found together with

strips of white paper rolls used to cover vehicles

before painting.

Pictures the Express obtained when the bus was first stolen

showed it with its wheels, windows and seats intact, but at the

garage the bus looked nothing like the previous images.

PTSC security investigators said based on the information

they had received, TR 4 was set to be converted to a private

tour bus. (Trinidad Express)

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