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Time to stop the madness among PSVs!

Have readers been observing what we have been? The emergence of a worrying trend, in the past few months, where it seems that every time a commuter gets on a public service vehicle (PSV), he or she faces exposure to the high risk of becoming involved or, worse yet, being seriously injured in a traffic accident?

In the PSV sector, ZR route taxis and minibuses together account for the highest number of accidents on our roads. Of late, however, Transport Board buses seem to be in pursuit, raising obvious questions about the validity of their marketing pitch to commuters –– You Are Safer With Us.

The latest in a spate of PSV accidents –– and the third for this month –– occurred on Sunday night near Proute, St Thomas. A ZR van, reportedly transporting people home from a picnic, overturned, causing injuries to 13 passengers, six of whom had to be taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Within the previous three weeks –– on May 6, to be exact –– there was a mass casualty along Maxwell Road, Christ Church, following a collision between a ZR and a minibus. Eighteen commuters were injured. Two days later, PSVs were again in the news after a minibus and Transport Board bus collided at Eastland, St George. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries.

In the previous month, on April 6, ten people were injured in an accident involving a ZR and a car. Eight passengers on the ZR complained of body pains. And two weeks prior, there was another mass casualty following a collision between a Transport Board bus and minibus at Road View in St Peter. Twenty-eight people complained of injuries.

This spate of accidents speaks to the notorious indiscipline within the PSV sector, which shoulders a tremendous responsibility for public safety, but finds itself in a situation where it can be regarded more as representing a threat to that public safety. When are the authorities going to stop talking about stamping out indiscipline within the PSV sector –– which they have been doing for years –– and take decisive action?

We hope it does not take a fatal crash that shocks the country. But, given the way things are going, this grim possibility cannot be ignored.

For years now, PSVs have been doing nonsense on the roads. Stopping any and everywhere to take on and drop off passengers. Overtaking in reckless fashion. Moving off without signalling, in a display of inconsideration for other road users.

The list of bad habits of PSVs appears endless. Why does it seem so difficult to bring order to the sector? People advance various reasons, but the buck ultimately stops with the Government.

One of the core functions of the Government is to ensure there is order in the society. No other national institution has that overall role.

Of course, passengers too contribute to the indiscipline. They have to pay for a service but seem quite happy accepting it any old how, instead of telling the providers in no uncertain terms that they expect better. If commuters would take such a stand and withdraw patronage from offenders, it would hurt where it matters most –– in their pockets; and they would get the message.

It seems, however, commuters in some cases are prepared to put up with the risks to personal safety, especially on the ZRs because, in instances, they provide a more reliable service than the state-run Transport Board. Without an alternative, commuters are caught between a rock and a hard place. They also aid and abet PSVs by getting on and getting off anywhere other than at designated bus stops

We believe a solution to the indiscipline, specifically in the privately run segment of the PSV sector, can be found; but it requires collaboration first and then consensus among Government, PSV operators and the travelling public. It is for Government, through the Transport Authority as the regulator, to take the lead in this regard and establish some binding operational standards for the sector.

The PSV business model, in which crews have to meet daily earnings targets set by owners, is another major contributor to the indiscipline. It creates a dog-eat-dog environment where PSV crews do whatever they have to, to make money. A better business model needs to be explored.

The time for action is now –– to avert a major catastrophe that is waiting to happen. Otherwise, we may have to regretfully say: “Oh, how we wish we had!”

It would not make a difference then, because it would have been already too late.

6 Responses to Time to stop the madness among PSVs!

  1. Deals On Wheels
    Deals On Wheels May 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Lol wunna now awake from a deep slumber

  2. Tony Webster May 20, 2015 at 5:29 am

    Dear Ed. You overlook that “Barbados punches above its weight”; also that we have a “99.9% literacy” rating; further, that we are a civilised democracy, and rank above many other “global gorrilliphants”, in qualiity-of-life index etc and ad nauseum.
    Don’t dig no horrors at the simple fact that we are either un-able or un-willing, to deal with the simple disciplines…that are pre-requisites for being considered “civilized”…in the first place.
    We’re accordingly asured of top spot, when the next rankings come out for the “Kicking-The -Can-Down-The-Road” thing.

    We also should do well in the “Set An Example For Your Children” rankings…because we adults are very smart, but our kids are slow: they neither see what we do; hear what we say; or have a clue what “dereliction of parental duty” means. “The Rise and fall of The Roman Empire”??…er…well, I think that’s the name of the band that will come out on top, come Crop-Over. I guess.

    Hmmm…. this is a li’l off-topic, but hot-off-de press, and as true as John three-something: A friend of mine…a super top-dollar guy who not long ago came here (wid wifey and twins) to lead a V.I.P. (Very Important Project), whichin’ is critical on collecting and managing all those lost and wandering tax-dollars “out there”…dropped by to say “goodbye”. He’s cutting out from here because he was burgled night-before in his high-end home on de South Coast, while he and his loved ones slept, “safely” tucked into their beds. They caught a flight yesterday afternoon, leaving me plumb whacked and dumb-founded. Bye-Bye-BIM.
    Q.E.D. (That whichin’ we doan want to be proved)

  3. wayne dread May 20, 2015 at 8:22 am

    We tried to address this issue in our comments about two weeks ago, but there’s the need for a disaster for the press or the celebrity editors to sensationalize an issue…

  4. jrsmith May 21, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Would someone answer this question, why is it no one from management Barbados , get on the media or a soap box in hero square to shout about , guns , drugs ,PSV vehicles which are death traps, with the issue of guns , next you would see ,people along the motor way selling a weapon as buy one get a free bag of drugs , because its so easy to obtain the same, if you interfere with the sea eggs out of season you would be hastily brought to justice, if you walk a round with a gun in your pocket no chance of being stop and search or arrested, who is looking after the store or the owners of the store.
    As for the PSVs, the owners are just like bad land lords, who’s houses are always in disrepair. the order of the day in Barbados everything is badly managed.

  5. Zzz May 21, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    There should be scheduled services and drivers paid salaries or wages and not taking money directly related to number of passengers. That’s why all the madness happens. The faster you are the more moNey you make in PSV and you compromise safety. ZRs overtaking other ZRs is madness and it has to stop. And it won’t stop if being behind affects driver’s income. I get it, that’s how they make money, but foremost they endanger everyone around.

  6. lester May 24, 2015 at 6:42 am

    well I too would have been involved in an accident with a transport board along black rock main road while taking my 11 year old daughter to the clinic. quick thinking by myself avoided collision with this bus, I knew for certain death was coming at us something must be done about the speed some of them drive at.


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