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King: Why blame the ZR owners?

The owners of public service vehicles cannot be held solely responsible for the reckless actions of the drivers who they hire to operate their route taxis.

In fact, spokesperson for the Alliance of Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Ingrid King believes the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) has to shoulder some of the blame.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY this afternoon. King maintained that the MTW was the agency responsible for issuing permits to route taxi drivers and conductors.

“These drivers and conductors are licensed by the Ministry of Transport and Works. I believe if the Ministry of Transport and Works continues to renew their badges, basically they are the ones saying that they are fit to continue in the service,” she explained.

King contended that in some cases, owners had no clue when their drivers or conductors were charged with traffic offences.

She said it would be more appropriate if owners were made aware of infractions committed by their employees.

“So what we have here in terms of notification is that there are a lot of times when an owner does not know that a driver has been charged, or an owner does not know that a driver or conductor has been convicted. This is something that within the industry we’ve called for a long time.

“For example, why are the owners not notified if you are going to ask them to take responsibility? A driver or conductor can go to court on his day off without the owner ever knowing that’s where he has gone or the reason he has gone for. So if you are going to ask the owners to take responsibility, I think you are going to have to be a lot more willing to share the information with owners, and it’s not within the existing protocol,” King noted.

She was responding to Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite’s call for the owners of ZR vans to be penalized for the actions of the drivers they hire.

“We penalize the drivers, they go and work for somebody else, and the owners get someone else to drive and not feel it in their pockets. I figure that is where we need to start. Begin and end with the owners, because if a guy can’t make money, the foolishness that goes on will come to an end, [or] at least will be substantially eradicated,” the Attorney General said.

However, while King admitted that owners of PSVs should accept some responsibility, she warned that they could not be held liable for the actions of others.

“I say that we have to talk very seriously about what was suggested, because if, as most owners will do, they trust a driver who has been licensed by MTW and has been cleared by his insurance and he allows that driver to drive his vehicle under the conditions that he understands and agrees to operate according to existing law, I think beyond that, if something happens you are certainly going to have to look at a question of culpability in terms of what the driver has done beyond the scope of what he has been instructed to do,” King argued.

“Because certainly some of the offences that we hear of are nothing at all that would be instructed by any responsible owner. A lot of them would not ever be approved of, so I think we would be less than honest if we’d say that a lot of what we see is something that any owner would approve of.”

11 Responses to King: Why blame the ZR owners?

  1. Ione Mitchell
    Ione Mitchell February 16, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Seriously? A minibus hits my vehicle and drives on. His paint is all over my car so the bus must be missing some too, as I saw the next day. I inform the owner and he gets the body work done real quick then goes into the police station to say it was not his vehicle. That was my scenario but the point is when they know what the drivers are doing and keep them in their employ, they must accept full responsibility.

    • Ingrid King
      Ingrid King February 16, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Thanks for your feedback Ione Mitchell. The AOPT wants to hear from ppl like you. If you have details as to time and place and are certain of the vehicle number you are encouraged to pursue your claim. If your statements are correct, both owner and driver have commited serious breaches. Police could also ask any witnesses to come forward and your insurance company should be interested in contacting the insurers of the minibus. It was mentioned in our interview that AOPT is eager to work with the agencies to end recklessness by owners and crew.

  2. Vernon Chandler February 16, 2016 at 5:17 am

    Are these people for real? That is like saying that an employer is not responsible for the employees he hires for incidents that occur on the worksite during the work hours of the employees. Of course u are responsible. If they are off duty & leave the van & go somewhere else & some incident occurs then that u can argue that u are not responsible. They are YOUR PRIVATE employees driving YOUR PRIVATE vehicle on YOUR time. The same that every other employer screens a prospective applicant by checking their qualifications and their past records so should ZR owners screen their applicants. And these applicants should be screened even more carefully than the average social worker because these drivers are responsible for the lives of the mass public.
    So if the owners as the employers are not responsible, who then is supposed to bear the cost of babysitting the people u hire? The taxpayers via the police?
    Do u think that your only responsibility is collecting $6000.00 a day from the drivers?
    If u do not want to be held responsible for the actions of your private employees then your business need to be taxed so that people can be hired to do that job. But my taxpayer dollars should not be paying to babysit your irresponsible employees.

  3. Danny Colombian Clarke
    Danny Colombian Clarke February 16, 2016 at 6:18 am

    I see daily some of the same buses doing rubbish over n over again . Don’t tell me that if I can see that day in day out that you the owner going say you clueless to what’s going on ? It’s common knowledge that the drivers that overload / pack down with school children even stop in middle of four cross in speightstown and block all lanes to pick up ppl bring in more money so why get rid of them n bring in one who respects the law but then you get less end of day. Another factor is that banning from driving seems to hardly ever apply to even drivers who has 100+ convictions. How can you as a magistrate just continually fine the same ppl week in week out n 5 minutes later they back out there doing the same thing all over again. The whole system of dealing with the PSV’s is a JOKE from the top to the bottom . This ain’t now start this been going on for years under both administrations. ( But when Joe public find out who some the real owners are behind the scenes you might understand why its allowed to continue)

  4. simply saying February 16, 2016 at 6:27 am

    This is total madness all the time speaking about the culture of minibuses and zrs .Lets be real .This sector carries the bulk load of Barbados daily.You could talk til the cows come home ,we need them.Transport board CANNOT move the whole of Barbados and that is the plain truth. People have been talking about this sector year after year about doing this and doing that ,and still no results ,just wasting talk,they are here to stay no matter what.Look how many new permits the Government just issued in the last 2 years on routes that are already flooded with numerous psv’s already.People talk as if who are operating these vehicles started what is going on out there ,the truth is ,its just a continued saga from older Barbadians of years before who have moved on in life and left it to younger ones.All that is needed to stop all the fuss,is for owners to come together and pay the operators a fixed salary ,and all of this talk and fuss and court issues would be done with ,its that simple.

  5. jrsmith February 16, 2016 at 6:39 am

    What is this , stupidness, what is he really saying, is this because ,of who the owners are.. I would agree with him, that MTW, shoulder, not some of the blame, but most of it, its simple people not doing they jobs and very, very, bad management. but then again this is how Barbados is govern..

    As for the owners not knowing ,anything about the drivers or conductors committing offenses, what king of business people are they.. so when accidents occur , with these vans , what happens .. some one fill me in as to , liability accident claims..

  6. Sharon Thomas February 16, 2016 at 6:58 am

    I also think that MTN should shoulder some of the blame
    Seeing how we are having so much trouble with the drivers and conductors. They should check they records before renewal of permits.


  7. Sharon Thomas February 16, 2016 at 7:00 am

    I also think that MTW should shoulder some of the blame
    Seeing how we are having so much trouble with the drivers and conductors. They should check they records before renewal of permits.


  8. Sue Donym February 16, 2016 at 8:44 am

    It’s actually not saying that owners are not responsible for anything. It is saying that each individual should be held accountable to the extent that they are responsible. They are calling for the information that would allow them to know and act as necessary. Of course the police and MTW as well as the courts need to detect, deter and penalise as they should for all categories of road users. These agencies are not doing favours when they help us all to have a safe road experience!

  9. Watchman February 16, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Hopefully this will be applied to anyone who owns a vehicle and employs someone to drive it, rather than targeting ZR vans as usual. Transport Board, taxis, dump trucks, everybody in de ring.

  10. Robin Goodman February 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Clearly some of the comments made here reflect a lack of thought and understanding by certain commentators. Firstly, to say that employers are responsible for incidents on the work-site is not the same as to say that an employer should be penalized for misbehavior on the part of his/her employee (as is being implied). If for example, I have a store in Bridgetown and an employee of mine is rude to a customer, should I as an owner be punished if the incident of rudeness is never reported to me? I believe the answer is obviously “No”. There is also a big difference between a work-site in a stationary location such as a building, and a moving vehicle which travels many miles at a time. The monitoring of the first is much, much easier than the second. Mr. Chandler missed the point that was being made when he wrote…”The same that every other employer screens a prospective applicant by checking their qualifications and their past records so should ZR owners screen their applicants”. Ms. King was stating that the owners do not have access to these “past records”, but would welcome gaining access to them. It is not a case of owners having detailed histories of prospective employees and still hiring persons with poor records. The fact is that the MTW and the Police force have access to this information, but do not make it available to would-be employers. How in the world can you hold owners solely responsible or threaten to penalize them when this is the case?


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