PSVs can now operate from all Govt terminals

Relief might finally be in sight for commuters hard hit by a chronic shortage of Government buses.

Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley announced in Parliament today the expansion of the integration of privately owned public service vehicles (PSVs) and the state owned Transport Board service, which would allow for PSVs to operate from Transport Board terminals across the island.

Lashley said in an effort to ease the strain on the ageing fleet that causes frequent breakdowns, leaving passengers stranded, Cabinet had given its approval last week to widen the scope of the integration of the private and Government owned passenger services.

“It was only last week that Cabinet agreed to the expansion of this project to alleviate the problems that we are now having at the Transport Board . . . .There is a role now for the private sector to play in public transport alongside the Transport Board,” he said during debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2018 to 2019.

Government launched the experimental programme of combining the services of the Transport Board and PSVs – officially called the Transport Authority Service Integration (TASI) project – in December 2015 on the Edey Village, Christ Church route, before adding the Sturges, St Thomas route.

Its aim was to introduce the concept of transportation service integration to Barbados, and it was designed primarily to reduce the inconveniences associated with the Transport Board bus schedules.

With the revelation late last month that school children were being left stranded up until about 8 p.m. due to the shortage of buses, raising fresh concerns about the reliability of the state- run service, Lashley today said the expansion of the TASI project was critical now more than ever.

“Based on the importance of public transport and looking at the development of a public transport policy, it now moves the ministry to engage those persons again, expand the project not only to the Fairchild Street terminal, but the Princess Alice terminal and all other terminals that are involved in public transport,” he told his parliamentary colleagues, adding that this collaboration was expected to remain in place until the Transport Board upgrades its fleet.

The minister explained that of the over 250 buses owned by the statutory agency, more than 175 were at least 18 years old, with 77 of them at least 21 years old.

He said integrating the two public transportation systems would “positively affect” the durability and maintenance of Government’s fleet, “allowing the Transport Board to concentrate solely on particular routes, or concentrate on moving the school children. Then at peak hours when there is a challenge we integrate the private sector into moving the passengers”.

Additionally, the minister said Cabinet had agreed to allow private operators to use the open area outside the Fairchild Street terminal on evenings, “because of the fear of passengers walking over to River Terminal and the risk”.

He said while his ministry would be sourcing parts for the old buses, other equipment such as the 40-year-old hoist used the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTS)for inspection were breaking down because of age.

“We instructed the [MTW] workshop to look at purchasing a new hoist so that inspections would not be delayed,” he said.

The Transport Board had issued a statement at the end of January cautioning that the shortages and delays were likely to continue for weeks, while explaining that a number of its buses were undergoing inspection at the licensing authority, but the process had stalled because the hoist at the MTW had been out of commission for more than a year.

It added that it had been working with the ministry in search of an alternative location to have inspection done, but this too was being hampered by the unavailability of equipment.

8 Responses to PSVs can now operate from all Govt terminals

  1. Bajan boy February 15, 2018 at 1:23 am

    Yuh right to me k room fuh your ZR’s ..

    Reply
  2. Sue Donym February 15, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Smoke and mirrors. Allowing Route taxis and Minibuses to operate from the terminals will not change the fortunes of the Transport Board. It will not change poor management policies. Since the ZRs and Minibuses are already operating next door to Transport Board terminals, it will only change the fact that a commuter will get on the vehicle through a shared gate; it might also mean that the bad habits attributed to privately operated PSVs will be shifted to a single facility.

    “He said integrating the two public transportation systems would “positively affect” the durability and maintenance of Government’s fleet” How so? This reveals the shockingly simplistic thinking of the planners and decision makers for public transportation. How could having them operate from the same space, rather than several metres apart change the efficiency of Transport Board maintenance?

    The high cost of maintaining an aging fleet is an argument made by the private PSV operators as they continue to beg for duty free concessions. Now government is hoping that the public will understand that age is a factor in their inability to keep public buses on the road. How serious are they about serving the commuters? If the strategy was intended to make the private PSVs uncompetitive and to protect Transport Board it has backfired spectacularly.

    Reply
    • June Unlikejuly February 15, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      Im thinking the intention here is to reduce the number of busess sent on popular route like Sam Lords Castle. By simply reducing the demand on that route using vans like 3D and the Sam lords Castle they “should” be able to increase service to other routes.

      Though at the same time, i hope they recognise the need to give out more permits. Because it would be ignorant of them to over look the fact that most of these vans leave the van terminal full on evenings.

      Reply
      • Sue Donym February 16, 2018 at 10:58 am

        @June Unlikejuly, the “need to give out more permits” has to be done based on research/observation into the travel patterns, numbers and demands. What obtains now is the granting of permits in a seemingly unstructured way, leaving some routes flooded and others unserviced or undersupplied.

        What is most needed is a comprehensive examination of the industry that asks the relevant questions and understands the data gathered so that it might best be applied to balance good service to the travelling public with a viable business for the PSV operators.

        Reply
  3. Kevin February 15, 2018 at 9:05 am

    In the article just couple weeks ago when ZR operators were crying out for reduce duties etc etc etc, most of you were in agreement. I and one other person were the only ones that said big ups, lawyers and some politicians owned many of these PSV’s. Now the relief is trickling down, and here comes your comment…… I just hope the actual drivers and conductors of these PSV’s sees more money in their pockets.

    Reply
  4. terry r February 15, 2018 at 9:09 am

    no comment.

    Reply
  5. Tony Webster February 15, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Holy Flying Votes, Batman…it’s just amazing what these guys can do when their bums are on fire.

    Reply
  6. Alex Alleyne February 15, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Are they gonna line up in the terminal ?. Will they move only when full or on the hour ?.

    Reply

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