Bus terminal plan completed
Lashley looks to reduce the cost of the new facility following the review
Work on the revised plan for a modernized Fairchild Street Bus Terminal is now complete. Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley made the announcement at the end of a tour of the Fairchild Street facilities in The City today.
While promising to provide more details to the public soon, Lashley said his ministry was hoping to reduce the cost of the project following the review.
“We had taken a look at the terminal again and said to ourselves we have to minimize the cost, given the current situation and given the fact that we would not want to overextend ourselves. We are looking at building a terminal, but at a cost that is reasonable and at a cost that obviously doesn’t impact on the country as a whole,” the minister said.
Last January, Lashley disclosed the project would cost between $25 million and $30 million.
The Minister of Transport also said proposals to integrate the private transport with the public were well advanced “and the private sector will be called upon to fill those gaps”. He suggested that the private sector was eager to collaborate with Government on the initiative, which should result in improvements in the transportation sector.
While inside the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal, Lashley witnessed, first-hand, some of the challenges facing commuters due to bus service delays. Some commuters, who were apparently waiting in line for a long time at the Chalky Mount Gate, shouted to the minister: “Send a bus. We want a bus. Don’t say yuh going send one and don’t send it . . . . Send a bus now!”
Lashley responded by promising that transportation would be provided immediately. Minutes later, a longer line developed at the same gate forcing him to instruct management to send a bus to transport the affected commuters, rather than wait for a scheduled bus. The vehicle soon arrived and that matter was resolved.
During his tour, the minister heard even more complaints from commuters about the bus service. A few people in the terminal were heard to declare: “If he [Lashley] was not in here, wunnuh wouldn’t send nuh bus. When he leff, it gine guh back to the same thing.”
The real purpose of the minister’s tour of the terminal was to review the beautification and refurbishment done inside the facility by LIME.
“This joint project involved the renovation and the beautification of the existing terminal, of course, at no cost to the taxpayers. LIME spent their money on this project. We had to consent to it. Anything that can save the Government money that can result in some satisfaction to the travelling public we would actually encourage and support,” he told reporters.
Lashley said his ministry would be requesting similar assistance from other businesses in the New Year.
Chief financial officer of LIME, Patrick Hinkson, said phase one of the project had an estimated price tag of $34,000. Hinkson could not say how much the second phase would cost, pointing out that his company would “play it by air”.
He said a LIME Express outlet had been installed inside the terminal, while power-washing and painting services were being offered. Additionally, free WiFi would soon be available.
“That project will be completed. It has already started, but it will be completed in the New Year, where the commuters, while they are here, would actually have access to free WiFi,” the LIME official added.