Changing ZR culture
The “ZR culture” of lawlessness and recklessness among public service vehicle (PSV) operators is slowly being eroded and is being replaced by discipline, according to top officials of the private transport sector.
Chairman of the Association of Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that Barbadians had been stepping forward and reporting misconduct by ZR and minibus drivers through the recently formed joint committee that comprises the various stakeholder bodies. And he has encouraged the public to remain vigilant.
“What we want to do is encourage the public to continue to report to us what they see on our nation’s road, the driving practices of these [operators] and their conduct, so that we ourselves can investigate it and be able to call in the owners and have a discussion with them,” he said.
Raphael said he was generally satisfied that since the formation of the joint committee there had been a reduction in the lawless behaviour of PSV operators.
The PSV owner has also urged insurance companies to go after the bad drivers and not to punish the entire sector for the behaviour of a few.
He said the private transport officials were worried about a recent decision by a local insurance company not to cover any more ZRs or mini buses, unless driven by the owners. Raphael said the matter was of such concern, that the joint committee comprising AOPT, the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO), Drivers Against Reckless Conduct (DARC) and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) had scheduled a meeting with insurance companies on August 28 to hammer out a solution.
“We are meeting with the insurance companies because recently one insurance company would have made the decision not to insure public service vehicles unless they are owner-driven. That, too, is a concern that we have. We have asked the insurance companies, particularly the five insurance companies that presently insure PSVs, let us talk,” the AOPT chairman said, adding he feared that other insurance companies would take similar decisions.
“We want to encourage the insurance companies to go after the bad drivers, the ones that do not want to join the association, the ones that continue to create issues for the PSV sector. Those are the people that we are encouraging the insurance companies to go after, rather than painting everybody with the same brush,” Raphael insisted.
Meanwhile, Barbadians could soon get to share their views on the conduct of the PSV operators with the owners.
“The association may soon be commissioning a survey among the general commuter population to find out their views on the private transport system in Barbados; the relationship between the drivers, the operators, the regulators and passengers; those persons who come together to make the transport system in Barbados work,” revealed Raphael.
He added that he was of the view that there should be greater collaboration between the regulators and the various representative bodies.