Opposition: Transport Board crash looming

The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is warning of a dramatic collapse of Government’s public transportation service unless “urgent and drastic” remedial action is taken to rescue the Transport Board from a half billion dollar deficit.

“I feel I have a responsibility to warn the public that unless urgent and drastic remedial action is taken, the Transport Board faces the very real possibility of an implosion in its finances and a meltdown of its ability to keep buses on the road in support of the economic and social activities of Barbadians,” the BLP’s Ian Gooding-Edghill said in a statement to the media.

Gooding-Edghill, who served as chairman of the Transport Board from 2002 to 2007, contended that in addition to the deficit, the agency’s inability to pay its suppliers or collect millions of dollars owed by various ministries, pointed  to a looming crisis.

“Since 2008 the accumulated deficit of the Transport Board has ballooned to more than half a billion dollars, reaching $516.4 million at the end of the 2015-16 financial year; the Transport Board is in a constant and desperate struggle to pay the some $29 million it owes its suppliers; the Board is presently owed more than $30 million by the Ministries of Education and Social Care; and the fare revenue for financial year 2015-16 declined by $4 million against its annual budget,” he charged.

The BLP candidate for St Michael West Central maintained that a requested supplementary funding of $45 million for the 2015/2016 financial year was not received in full, resulting in continued pressure on the institution’s finances, and warned that the situation could get worse by the month.

Gooding-Edghill added that the number of Transport Board buses on the road fell from 310 in 2007, shortly before the BLP left office, to 139; not enough, he said, to service the 70 bus routes island-wide and maintain a good school bus service.

He blamed the ruling Democratic Labour Party for rising maintenance costs of about $19 million annually, suggesting half of this money would have been better spent on a fleet replacement programme.

“I am accordingly forced to conclude that the refusal of the Democratic Labour Party Government to continue the fleet replacement programme I left in place as chairman at the end of 2007, can only be described as shortsighted and politically silly to the disadvantage of the bus traveling public,” Gooding-Edghill said.

He recommended the inclusion on the agency’s board of directors, people with better business sense who are capable of making decisions that would prevent “the financial catastrophe that threatens it.

“Until this happens, the Board’s finances will continue to haemorrhage, with poor service becoming a permanent feature of its operations.”

The BLP spokesman also called on Minister of Transport Michael Lashley to be transparent as he investigates if foreign mechanics had been authorized or contracted to repair buses at the Mangrove depot.

“The public must surely be fully aware that we already have several garages which are not only capable of repairing and servicing these buses, but have been doing so for several years. To outsource this labour and these skills that are readily available here, amounts to a stinging insult to our Barbadian mechanics and technicians,” he said.

11 Responses to Opposition: Transport Board crash looming

  1. Kevin Gibson
    Kevin Gibson June 25, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I wonder if this same person was not on the same Transport Board staff just goes to show Bob was true about all politrickains never trust any of them no two party system can never be for the masses!

  2. Bernard Codrington. June 25, 2016 at 11:25 am

    This is the result of improper order of priorities;and contradicting policies on the role of the public transport system. Either subsidize it or charge fares that are cost recovery in design.

  3. BoboTheClown June 25, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Bus service in many parts of Barbados has become embarrassment, to all or most Barbadians.
    Just imagine inviting a visitor to your country, which was once labelled as one of the most progressive Country in the Western Hemisphere .You take them to Bridgetown to shop ,or to let them see how progressive we are, and after a fun filled day decides that it is time to go home by our Public Transport System. You arrive at the Fair Child Street bus Terminal at 1.P.M to catch the 1.30 bus to Martin’s Bay or Bathsheba as schedule according to the T.V. monitors posted at each gate. One thirty passes ; There isn’t a bus. Two o’clock goes there is no bus; Two thirty goes there’s no bus .You now have enough passengers in line to fill two buses .It is now three o’clock ,still no bus .No one has made an announcement as to why this is happening. School is dismissed and the Terminal has now become a sea of activity ,with hundreds of school children mingling among the now frustrated crowds waiting to get home .my visiting guests are perspiring perfusely because it is extreemly hot. You are embarrassed to the point where you would like to hide. Finally some lady comes on the address system “.we are sorry for the delay in service”: That is the extent of the announcement .Finally a bus pulls up to the bay at 10 minutes to five .Two hundred people begin pushing and shoving to get into the bus .there is not a single guard in sight to prevent school boys ,school girls and adults from jumping the rails curing and swearing at each other.Surprisingly no one is injured in the melee.
    No one from the Transport Board has had the decency to address the delay .Eventually my friends and I gets home ,after and a half hours waiting for a bus almost too tired to enjoy our meal.
    Service stinks ,and no one seem to give a damn.

  4. jrsmith June 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    How could anyone believe, that public business in Barbados employs people who is capable of managing what ever department thats involve.. everything seems so fraudulent and corrupt this makes me sick.

    My conclusion people who are employed to do the jobs as management, seems not capable because they jobs was given to them because they are party members.. just bad management every where.. we will soon be seeing painters donning white coats working at the (Queen Elisabeth) as doctors…

    Would be better if the transport busses and many government departments were privatize..

  5. Carson C Cadogan June 25, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    The DOOM AND GLOOMERS are st it again.

    Not only the Transport Board but the entire country was due to crash since 2008 according to the DOOM AND GLOOM party the Barbados Labour Party.

    Hartley Henry said the Barbados Labour Party wanted us to believe that the meal we were having in 2008 was to be our last.

  6. dave June 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Why this Government dont just Give Up ?
    Yuh mean FAILURE in every area ?

    And then people will say that you should not blame the Government. And curse you if you blame the Government but says nothing when this Government blames the other Government for everything. This is real comedy !! This thing cannot be written in a script –This is real life Comedy fuh trute. The mealy mouthed supporters and yardfowls and yard ducks will complain when you talk about these things but the Government of the day must take the blame. Colin Spencer said so not me.

  7. Carson C Cadogan June 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    I am wondering if the Barbados Labour Party members are so dense that they dont realise that you can destroy a case by overstating it?

  8. dave June 26, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Wunna always trying to insult people. Typical arrogant nonsense

  9. Ossie Moore June 27, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Lord mek peace! wid cheese on bread!

  10. Sheron Inniss July 2, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I have noticed that the transport problems are divided in two. The government and the private buses. What I believe Barbados needs is an all inclusive system; whereby there is one entity that serves the entire population. Time should be taken to carry out a survey ( money well spent ) to ascertain how many persons actually use public transport. Long haul routes should use the longer buses and the short haul the smaller ones. It makes me steupse to see a long bus making its way to Deacons and such like with less than 10 persons back and forward on a regular basis. Next persons should be encouraged to take the bus within their travelling space and leave Boscobel and such for those who really need them. Private buses should have to stick to regular bus schedules and this cut throat war on the road would have to cease. I am amused by the stance they happen to be taking right now about having our best interest at heart. Many of them do not! IT IS NOT A COMPETITION; it is a service and we are tired of all the foul ups. We know peak hours during school time, but what about during vacation or when buses are used for charters? How many are left? How can the aging and insufficient fleet be best utilized? I can write a thesis about this, however I shall cut short here and suggest that whereas you can’t outright tell private owners what to do, they can indeed be regulated. The Transport Board needs to make money. Someone needs to wise up and make sure that the board has some more of those lucrative routes. It is time too to consider if too many operators are on our streets and stop issuing licenses. It is time to rethink free bus fare for school children ’cause it surely IS NOT FREE. Taxpayers have to foot that bill. So give who need and those who can pay let them pay

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