Accident prompts immediate crackdown

The Barbados Transport Authority today suspended the permit of the owner of ZR125 with immediate effect, after the van driven by Matthew Daniel of My Lords Hill, St Michael overturned near the River Bus Terminal in the City, injuring 10 school children, including a Springer Memorial student who was pinned under the vehicle.

Director Alex Linton told Barbados TODAY the permit would remain suspended until investigators had determined what caused the mass casualty on Nursery Drive.

While expressing deep concern about general lawlessness among public service vehicle (PSV) drivers on the streets of Barbados, Linton said he was also considering whether Daniel’s licence should be revoked.

In the wake of Tuesday afternoon’s incident which occurred around 2:30 p.m. the authorities were also looking to step up surveillance at all bus terminals, effective today.

The ZR involved in today's accident.
The ZR involved in today’s accident.

“We will be stepping up surveillance of that terminal; not only that, but throughout the whole island, because I do not believe it is an isolated [case] just for that one. So we will be setting up necessary surveillance, so the public can rest assured we will be on top of matters,” Linton said.

Linton said he intended to launch his own probe into the company, which owns ZR125.

“The Transport Authority is mindful of the recent rise in incidents involving public service vehicles. We are taking the necessary steps to address these concerns. We are promoting the training programme which is taking place at the Barbados Community College (BCC) to change the operational behaviour of the said operators,” he said.

 “We have, for this particular accident, called in the permit holders and the driver for an immediate meeting with the Transport Authority, and we will take the necessary appropriate action according to law,” Linton told Barbados TODAY.

While acknowledging the need for greater enforcement, as well as a heightened security presence on the island’s roads, the Transport Authority director said his organization was working with various Government agencies to make this happen.

“We are working on that with the various Government agencies to get further manpower to be on the road and give that degree of presence. But at this time we are obviously concerned. We are calling in operators; we have done that about three Thursdays ago with the Redman Village [St Thomas] operators and we are planning to do it with other operators.

“We are accelerating that programme we are putting in place.”

He also appealed to members of the public to assist the authority in stamping out lawlessness on the country’s roads by calling its hotline at 4271778.

This latest incident involving PSVs also has Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley hopping mad.  Declaring that the behaviour of ZR and minibus operators is getting out of hand, Lashley told this newspaper he was summoning an urgent meeting with the Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith and the Transport Authority to deal with this matter.

“I have already met with the Transport Authority in terms of ways and means as to how we are going to get around this. We need to have also the disciplinary committee of the Transport Authority brought into full action,” the Minister said.

While making it clear that he was not casting any judgement on this matter, Lashley said “once the facts reveal and a court decision that there was reckless driving, then, of course, the disciplinary committee of the Transport Authority will be called into action”.

And as the country waits for amended Road Traffic legislation with stiffer penalties and measures to become a reality, Lashley said additional inspectors would be placed on the roads.

“We have asked the Civil Service for transport inspectors [and] we have had a very favourable response, so we are looking to having additional traffic inspectors who will then be able to patrol this area properly,” Lashley told Barbados TODAY.

In the interim, the Ministry of Transport has submitted a plan to the Town & Country Planning Department for construction of a new River Terminal, which the Minister said would bring greater control to bear and end lawless behaviour and reckless driving in the bus stand itself.

“On the road, we hope the transport inspectors and the amendment to the Transport Authority Act would give them additional powers, more so than the powers they have at present to deal with these ZR drivers.”

Minister Lashley warned that the owners of ZRs would also come under serious scrutinity very shortly in terms of the persons they select to operate their vehicles.  He expressed concern that even though the law now requires PSV workers to wear uniforms, they were still flouting the law.

“Quite frankly, some of these people . . .  we have actually put the law in place in terms of uniforms, yet you see some of them still driving on the road in outfits [that attract $1,000 fines].  I cannot enforce the law. The transport inspectors at this present moment cannot enforce the law; it is members of the Royal Barbados Police Force that have to enforce the law,” said Minister Lashley, while noting that the proposed amended Road Traffic Act was now about 95 per cent complete.

5 Responses to Accident prompts immediate crackdown

  1. Ras Small
    Ras Small June 10, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Yadda, yadda, yaddah! Give it 9 days and everything will be back to the norm. Hope all injured have a good recovery.

  2. jrsmith June 10, 2015 at 6:53 am

    @ Ras small, hail to you, but, lets give them a chance to prove to our people they are concern as to the well being of our bajan travelling public.
    We must keep an eye on the records, history should speak for itself. I just feel so good , to read , how this matter is being dealt with .
    I do hope ,the transparency exist and no them and us exist in this/ these cases. The driver should be suspended as well .
    The families of the injured , should now seek damages against the owner of the vehicle.
    Let this be a start, bring some adult sensibility to a problem which existed for decades in Barbados for the vehicle transporting systems. The operators seems to be persons with out logic thinking, realizing, a chunk of the Barbados travelling public, is scared to ride on these vehicles.

  3. Aldo June 10, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Something should of done with these lawless operators long time not now they are the biggest treat on the road to other traffic and people,just pray for the injured.

  4. Ormond Mayers June 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    It is a pity in Barbados we are reactive and not proactive. Something got to happen , to get a reaction. The ZR and mini- Bus culture are a source of concern for years. Each time there is a serious accident, we get an emotive response from the Authorities. As soon as the dust is settled, everything goes back to chaos. School children get on these ZR and mini- buses, and
    enjoy the reckless driving as fun. The authorities need to get more serious ,and take corrective action, when our traffic laws are violated. Take the offenders off our streets. Let take preventive action, and don’t wait to disaster occurs.

  5. Kevin June 10, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    The Ministers and other NGOs can talk and try all they want. You cant legislate behavior. People must start being responsible.


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