New bus system from December 1
The proposed integration of the public and private transport service will begin from December 1.
Director of the Transport Authority Alex Linton rolled out the schedule for the six-month Transport Authority Service Integration (TASI) pilot project at a press conference this afternoon.
He revealed that the first phase of the TASI, which is geared at improving efficiency within the transport system, would see six minibuses, five transport board buses and two route taxis operating on three routes from two bus terminals.
“The three routes – Martin’s Bay, Sturges, Edey Village – all of them coming out of Bridgetown. Two of them will be operating from the Fairchild Street Terminal, one of them the Princess Alice Terminal.
“We will be monitoring and doing continual assessment of this pilot project throughout. We would be doing service quality, we will be doing head counts, we will be going to the customers asking them how they like it. If they don’t like this, we will be tweaking it with the operators. We want to have the best of all worlds,” Linton explained.
Assistant director of planning at the Transport Authority Carolyn Yarde noted that the operators involved in the pilot TASI project would be identified by a decal placed on their vehicles that would operate on a scheduled service and ticketing system.
“Another change for this project will be the introduction of ticketing by the private operators. Tickets will be issued for every category of passenger – paying passengers, school children, the elderly, the disabled and police officers.
“We believe that the ticketing initiative will more accurately access the efficacy and efficiency of the project.
“Transfers in the event of a breakdown, we anticipate that those will be seamless, in that one will be able to move easily from one type of taxi unit to another without having to pay any additional fare,” Yarde explained.
Transport inspectors would also be placed on buses to monitor, ensure operators’ compliance along the routes and give feedback for the duration of the project, which ends in May 2016.
Surveys and other data collection methods would also be used to collect information on the TASI, which officials are confident will be a success.
The service is set to begin at 5 a.m. on December 1 with public and private operators down to hit the roads at alternate times to ensure a level playing field between the two entities. The status quo remains with the elderly and school children getting the service free.
However, Linton revealed that the initiative, which he believes would be of great benefit to all involved, received only a “moderate” response from the private operators.
“I would have loved to see a greater degree of response and the thing is we did present this to the associations since January . . . but being honest a lot of the private operators have different focuses at this time which is unfortunate because if they focus on this, they will realize that there is money here,” he said.