Wrong road

Gooding-Edghill warns against ‘puzzling’ Transport Board proposal

Get it right for locals first!

That’s the response from former chairman of the state-run Transport Board Ian Gooding-Edghill to Government’s plan to offer a chartered bus services to tourists.

During the recent debate on the Appropriation Bill, 2016, Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley explained that the service would be offered in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism as a means of generating increased revenue for the state-run Transport Board.

However, Gooding-Edghill told Barbados TODAY the proposal was not only “puzzling and ill-timed”, but also “alarming”.

“He must certainly be aware of the extreme frustrations daily experienced by thousands of Barbadians suffering from the highly unsatisfactory bus service routinely provided all of the nation by the Transport Board,” said Gooding-Edghill.

“His proposal is another glaring example of this Government’s habit of making up policy on the run to try to impress a hopeful public,” he added.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for St Michael West Central also cautioned that should the plan go through, it would only serve to make a bad situation worse, given the “very scarce units from an already badly under-provided bus fleet struggling to service the local travelling public.

“Furthermore, there can be no reasonable need for Government to be wanting to get involved in competing in an area already catered to by well established private sector taxi and coach operators, and from all reports doing to satisfactorily and efficiently,” said Gooding-Edghill.

He suggested that Lashley, through the Transport Board, should be aggressively pursuing “increased bus availability, timely fleet maintenance and the regular payment of suppliers of goods and services”.

“Doing so would put more buses on the road for the benefit of the public fed up with having to routinely tolerate long waits for buses, if they arrive at all, and would guarantee higher revenues for the Board,” he said.

“I am sure that the Transport Minister is quite familiar with reports that the Board is seldom able to put on the road some 152 buses or 51 per cent of the 300 vehicles needed to meet the peak requirements of Barbadian commuters going to school, work and about their various other activities. Seeking to reverse such a deplorable state of affairs should be Minister Lashley’s first and foremost concern,” advised Gooding-Edghill.

The former Transport Board chairman said he was alarmed that Lashley did not use the debate to provide the public with an update on the “long awaited plans to replace an ageing fleet which last received 30 new buses in 2003 and 100 in 1999, and how he intends to deal with phenomenal challenge of delivering reliable and efficient bus service.

“So I am calling on Minister Lashley to immediately abandon his bad case of misplaced priorities shown in what can perhaps best be considered as an over-ambitious and impractical wish for the Transport Board to venture into tourist charters,” said Gooding-Edghill. (MM)

8 Responses to Wrong road

  1. Tony Webster March 30, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Lef’-han’ and right-han evidently ent talking. Somebody gine get lef’-out effin ent careful. And someperson else slip showing…”Lashes” coming?

  2. Menace II Babylon March 30, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Why you would even contemplate a bill like that? You go to any other country, you use public transport too mingle with the people, keep the currency local…. I don’t know what to say…..rather than revive our decrepit transport system and invest heavily in technology to ensure we are up to date you want tourist buses. Smh no wonder the other islands think we still hold on to our colonial travesty with both hands and teeth.

  3. Sarah Pomeranz Layne
    Sarah Pomeranz Layne March 30, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Government needs to stay out of the tourism product.. let the players who know what they are doing, get the job done. you have perfectly good companies who know all about transporting tourist and do a damn good job of it.. from the Little man to the big guns.. but stop government from owning any piece of the tourism product.. except getting people here.. and helping out our already existing businesses…

  4. Menace II Babylon March 30, 2016 at 7:33 am

    don’t worry, bus fare soon rise again…..

  5. Sue Donym March 30, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Just imagine, in good Transport Board tradition, a group of eager tourists huddled in the Port with driver saying “Duh gi’ somebody else my bus and want me to drive dat? Dem ent mean me – gotta sen’ somebody else fuh dis”
    Or better yet, carrying in a load ‘scruffy’ because a flight was delayed and his shift is ending…

    Mr Gooding-Edghill is spot on – get what Transport Board is already supposed to be doing right first, including safety, school buses, on-time performance, frequency promises and maintenance!

  6. Angela Maria
    Angela Maria March 30, 2016 at 8:30 am

    can’t get buses for school tours, Agrofest etc. without a lot of drama, can’t get buses to get to school, work , home or town without a lot of long wait, but he could find buses for tourists, which would result in the operators of private coaches and businesses like Island Safari losing money. The role of the government is not to enhance the public sector at the expense of the private one, but to create and implement schemes that can benefit both wherever possible, therefore benefiting the country’s economy on a whole.

  7. Tammy Akelia Taitt
    Tammy Akelia Taitt March 30, 2016 at 9:08 am

    This is all Barbados about. About time somebody tell the ministers something. This country cares more about the tourists than they do about their own people. Make the locals happy then worry about all this other stuff later. Don’t know how they expect to do this and does got people waiting in the terminals from 11am to only get a bus at 4pm. Stupes.

  8. jrsmith March 30, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Been saying for a while , our politicians cannot go beyond tourism because they don’t know anything else, that’s why everything is failing in Barbados , all they do is try this, try that , and hope something works ,they are so in over their heads..


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