A grouping of private sector owners of public service vehicles has sounded a strong warning to rogue drivers that their days are numbered.
Fed up with the behaviour of some of the operators, the Alliance of Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) is planning to place monitoring devices on ZR vans and minibuses in order to keep track of the drivers.
AOPT chairman Roy Raphael said the grouping did not intend to allow a few bad apples to sully the entire fraternity and would go all out to identify the troublemakers.
He revealed that vehicles owned by members of the association would be fitted with global positioning systems before the end of this year so they can be easily monitored.
“A clear warning is being sent to them . . . that this association will not sit back and allow one or two people to continue to create issues for us,” Raphael told Barbados TODAY in an interview.
“We should be working with the providers to issue this new GPS where we can have a tracking system for the PSVs. [We would] know the speed in which they are driving, we would know if they are off route, we can tell if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and loud music, so we are in discussions and we are hoping that by the end of the year everything should be in place.”
He said those found to be flouting the rules would be clearly identified so commuters can decide whether or not to travel with them.
The AOPT chairman said while the grouping did not condone the rebellious behaviour, he acknowledged that there were passengers who preferred to travel with these chauffeurs.
“There are still vehicles that still rebel [and] there are some people who prefer the rebel van and others like to sit in a nice quiet van to get home after a long days work. But persons do not know these vans because they cannot identify them. These vans will be clearly marked. We are going to get permission from the Transport Authority to put stamps on them,” Raphael disclosed.
He said the alliance did not have jurisdiction over all PSV operators but it has issued an appeal to all PSV owners to take charge of their vehicles, listen to the complaints from commuters and visit the van stands to get a first hand look at what goes on there.
On Tuesday a route taxi driven by Adrian Jackman, 41, overturned in Benthams, St Lucy after it hit an embankment, resulting in injury to18 people, 16 of whom were students of the Daryll Jordan Secondary School.
Jackman, of Rose Hill, St Peter was said to be off route, an allegation Raphael said that did not come as a surprise.
He said while the accident was being investigated, the behaviour of some of the drivers in the north of the island had left a lot to be desired.
“I don’t know what happened [Tuesday]. . . but my thing is that other things relating to off route and so on is not surprising but the matter is still under investigations and I don’t want to give my views publicly when the matter is still under investigation . . . but I can clearly say to you that a number of persons have given us complaints about the behaviour of some of those PSVs who operate in the north,” Raphael told Barbados TODAY.
However despite Tuesday’s accident and another in June last year that resulted in the amputation of Springer Memorial student Zakiyah Defreitas’s left forearm when a ZR van overturned near the River bus stand, Raphael assured commuters that PSVs were safe.
“Some of our drivers are still safe. We give the members of the public that assurance that the few people continue to float the lot or create issues for us . . . they don’t represent us but we want to give the members of the public let them know that PSVs in Barbados are still safe and they can still continue to ride on them.”
Last June’s accident resulted in injury to 22 people, most of them students.