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Public transport sector may become regulated

Public transport sector may become regulated

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The National Transport Board has been re-established and the authorities hope that it would assist in the proper regulation of the local transportation system.

The Board, which was recently approved by Cabinet, will be headed by the Commissioner of Police Keith Miller as Chairman, and will include Chief Engineer Brent Bailey.{{more}}

Transport Officer in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Aubrey Burgin, told SEARCHLIGHT that a meeting of the Board is planned and among the issues down for discussion are routes, the locations of bus stops, overcrowding, hours of service and congestion at the bus terminals.

The Board will also consider issues relating to safety of passengers and conduct on the road by mini-bus operators, as there are plans for a close working relationship with the traffic department of the police force.

Burgin added that while he supports the need for an increase in bus fares, mini-bus operators needed to organize themselves.

“If we look at the current way mini-buses operate, it is really a sad situation,” said Burgin.

“We think sometimes that these guys don’t realize it’s a service and not a favour.”

He added that while government cannot force bus operators to become organized, the intent of the board was to regulate the sector.

Burgin said regulations governing the sector will be formulated by the Board, with the assistance of the relevant stakeholders, then the document will be submitted to the Ministry of Legal Affairs for legal drafting.

“We are looking to make the sector more efficient, safer and more productive,” Burgin explained.

Among the major issues, Burgin said, was what he referred to as the “dog eat dog” situation which exists at bus terminals.

He referred to the example of other countries, which operated a first in, first out system.

And on the topic of driver competence and experience, Burgin said that he was of the opinion that many persons operating mini-buses never “learnt” to drive.

He mentioned instances where conductors were, after only a few months, seemingly “promoted” to the position of driver.

A closer look at the prerequisites for obtaining an ‘H’ driver’s license was going to be discussed, with further plans to have regular daily checks to ensure persons were operating public transport vehicles in a manner deemed safe to the public.

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