Minivans under more scrutiny by police
Providers of public transport are now under much more scrutiny as the traffic department tries to enforce physical distancing measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Negotiations between government and the Vincentian Transportation Association (VINTAS) on Monday resulted in an agreement on economic support for minivans of between EC$250 and EC$300 a month, for two months in the first instance, beginning this month.
The stipend comes as government has asked minivan operators to practice physical distancing measures of seating only three persons on a seat, instead of the usual four.
Minivan operators have argued that carrying fewer passengers will hit them in the pocket, but apart from the economic support, government has also recently reduced the price of gasoline by one dollar to EC$11.97 per gallon. Diesel has also been reduced by one dollar to EC$10.79 per gallon.
Despite these measures, some minivan operators are not cooperating, and on Wednesday Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John said the police are monitoring and speaking to drivers.
“The police are making sure and approaching the minivans and pointing out to the drivers and conductors and passengers that it is in their best interest to practice social distancing,” said John.
He said that while the drivers are largely cooperative, some are putting up resistance.
He said that because of the defiance of some drivers, the increased scrutiny by the police has shown up other violations including defective tires and conductors not having the required licenses.
“It is not a policy where we are trying to spite anyone,” stated John while adding that at this time the police are doing everything they can to help the fight against COVID-19.