PSV rage

Minibus owners cry foul over tasi

Minibus owner Victor Mottley is not a happy man, and is fuming over a decision by the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) to pull private operators from the Sturges, St Thomas route to make way for the much-touted Transport Authority Service Integration (TASI) project.

Mottley told Barbados TODAY TASI was crippling his business and that of other owners and operators, and was nothing but a means of enriching a few at the expense of the majority.

Designed primarily to reduce the inconveniences associated with the Transport Board bus schedules, TASI was introduced in December 2015 as an experimental programme of combining the services of the Barbados Transport Board and private operators of public service vehicles (PSVs) on some routes, beginning with Edey Village, Christ Church, with Sturges added later.

It has since been extended, and has been hyped as a resounding success by Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley.

However, operators who were removed from the route are singing a different song, complaining of crushing financial losses.

The main point of contention for Mottley was that, having been made to move against their will, operators were being assigned to highly saturated routes.

He explained that since the start of the TASI programme, 11 minibuses had been pulled from the Sturges route and replaced by only the three selected for the project.

“I have one bus which is now plying the Oistins to Speightstown bypass, and since these programmes started buses have been shifted to the bypass, Jackson, and all over. It makes it more difficult on the bypass and on Jackson because they are bringing countless ZRs to the point that it is impossible to get a driver in Jackson. There are so many now that that they are just parked now waiting for drivers because the drivers know they can’t make any money in Jackson,” Mottley complained.

“The bypass is not any better. I am getting less than half of what I was making before the other buses from the Sturges route came,” he added.

The PSV owner argued that it was only obvious that the project would seem successful, as those now operating the routes did so without the pressure of competition.

“If you had 11 before and now you have three, it is only obvious that they would be happy because they raking in lots of money.”

PSV owner David Douglin had his minibus pulled from the Sturges route almost a year ago.

Victor Mottley & David Douglin

He told Barbados TODAY it has since been languishing in his garage because he was yet to be assigned a suitable replacement route.

Douglin said upon being advised by
MTW officials that his bus would be removed from Sturges, he was promised a route of his choice.

However, almost one year later and after spending close to $30,000 to repair his vehicle, he has been unable to see any return on his investment. He also shared with Barbados TODAY, a letter from Director of Transport Alex Linton dated October 25 this year in which he was given a month to settle over $7,000 in outstanding licence fees, even though his bus remained off the road.

“It is not fair to me; and when I tried to contact [the MTW official] I am getting no response, which means that he is either out of the office or he is too busy to see me,” a frustrated Douglin said.

He revealed that he had become so exasperated that he invited his lawyer to accompany him to the Transport Authority on November 29 this year, hoping to have his plight resolved.

However, even that effort had been in vain.

“We sat there for three hours and still no show. I can’t take it anymore because my bus is paid up in road tax and insurance and no route to run,” Douglin said.

In addition, he told Barbados TODAY that owners felt slighted by the abrupt manner in which they were informed of their planned reassignment, which left them with little time to adjust.   

“I was informed when I received a call from [MTW] sometime in November 2015, that the persons who were not participating in the TASI programme would be re-routed. Up to the time when they would have made it public, I had no information as to how things would go because I figured if they are doing the TASI programme and they selected who they wanted, then I would still be allowed to run on my respective route. It was only
when I got that call just before the programme started was when I found out that I would no longer be operating the Sturges route,” he revealed.

12 Responses to PSV rage

  1. Kevin Gibson
    Kevin Gibson December 10, 2016 at 6:46 am

    The plight of the poor man

  2. Hermine Alleyne December 10, 2016 at 6:56 am

    You can apply for the Bridgetown to martins Bay route only one van ply this route and there are no buses between 12pm and four pm. Your service would be very wellcome,good luck,

  3. Hermine Alleyne
    Hermine Alleyne December 10, 2016 at 7:27 am

    The Martin Bay route only has one van and buses are one every two hours on a good day, apply for this route, come and check get your info, and don’t take no for an answer,you got to eat too.

  4. Sue Donym December 10, 2016 at 10:17 am

    What lunacy! Whose interests are served by the Transport Authority? If operators are complaining and commuters are complaining, exactly who’s benefiting in order to make the TASI project a success?

    Little wonder that the operators complain that government policies are contributing to their need to hustle to make any profit. How can a responsible Transport Authority practise nonsense like this and expect the cooperation of the PSV owners. Government’s interest cannot be limited to collecting the fees; it is also their responsibility to ensure there is a fit and adequate supply of units and that as many routes as possible are operated on well maintained roads. They have finally made a step in the right direction by improving the terminal facilities and it is hoped that this was done in consultation with the PSV operators.

    The adversarial relationship has gone on for too long. It is time all parties agreed to work towards a safe and efficient public transport system.

  5. Unknown December 10, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    The fact that sturges never ha11 mini vans is what making me laugh we had 115 108 209 151 and 93 all the rest was ever off the road and we still had to wait the long wait for a van up here so please don’t say we had 11 vans

    • Unknown December 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm

      Accurate. We had some relief when 161 was up here then he went long and 115 come back. Problem is that 115 and 108 always used to be racing, to prove what, I don’t know. The mksy we ever had up here was six

      115, 108, 209, 151, 317 and another one that a man refurbished out of one of those Nissan coach buses. Then he disappeared too.

      If Sturges had 11 vans at any point in time I guarantee nobody was complaining. I personally feel that Sturges could work with 6 vans + the Shorey bus. What use is TASI if only two vans are working? 108 was off the road for months now.

  6. Unknown December 10, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    You all had choices to join the project if you wanted to not sturges people fault wanna int making ends meat in Jackson we have nothing to do with all the zrs that are coming on Jackson route so keep sturges out your mouth

  7. Unknown December 11, 2016 at 8:11 am

    It unfair one owner got 6 buses working up there in sturges an when u check it d buses working two routes it unfair he got buses going sturges an it dead them running sptown

  8. unknown December 11, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Sturges people does still get problems waiting long for buses so nothing aint really change

  9. Jus Me December 11, 2016 at 10:00 am

    The buses I can remember running on Sturges was, B115, B151, B93, B108, B33, B209, B138, B317, and B161 was the last to joined up on that route. A total of (9) nine buses compares to the (3) three that are running now. Sometimes one would wonder what is going on, which buses are certified to apply that route, sometimes you will see buses like 89, 58, 25 and others which belong to routes like Speightstown. It was to my understanding that the buses like B108, B33, and B16 was certified to do the TASI project. It almost seems like it was designed for only one concessionaire.
    Let’s talk about choice, were they really a choice?.
    PSVs required for the pilot project
    Route Transport Board buses Private vehicles
    Martin’s Bay 2 1
    Edey Village 2 1
    Sturges 1 4
    Total 5 6

  10. Jus Me December 11, 2016 at 10:11 am

    PSVs required for the pilot project.
    Route Martin’s Bay, transport board 2. Private vehicles 1. Edey village, Transport board 2. Private vehicles 1. Sturges, Transport board 1. Private vehicles 4. Transport board total 5 and Private a total of 6

  11. Rico small December 11, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    That project is the worse things them didn’t have to take the Vans off the sturges route just had to make it mandatory them go thru Highland and wherever but I didn’t go UWI so who am i


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