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Mini bus woes

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Fri, Nov 28, 2014

Editor: I want to thank those mini bus drivers who have been providing a very good service to this country. It is hard work waking up in the morning to get people to work and back. Some of them are making a sacrifice in doing so. However, there are some elements among them who seem just set to give trouble by ignoring the traffic laws, e.g. playing loud music and showing bad attitudes to persons, even when spoken to by the police.{{more}} I believe that the speed limit in Kingstown is 15-20 miles per hour, but every day I see some mini buses flying across the Police Station on Bay Street and I wonder how long this would go on before somebody or something does something about it.

Let me address the traffic department of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force about giving some young men H drivers’ license. I think some of these persons should not get these licenses as they are not responsible persons to be putting people’s lives in their hands. Speeding is a way that they want to prove to their peers that they are good drivers, but I want to thank God for His divine protection day by day. Some of them believe that when they overtake around a corner and ‘get away with it’ it’s because they are good drivers. Far from that. It is only the divine protection of God saving innocent lives. These mini bus drivers are willfully breaking the law knowing that they would just pay the fine and get back on the road to do the same thing. I am sorry for the traffic wardens and officers who have to deal with these of people every day.

My take on those who willfully break the law knowing that they would only be charged a fine is that after three consecutive charges, their license should be revoked. We have to set an example so that the would-be offenders would take note. Sometimes coming into Little Tokyo you think that you are on a race track. Some persons have to run across to get away from those speeding mini buses.

Another thing I want to deal with is the dress code of some of the mini bus drivers and conductors which leaves much to be desired. Dressed in a vest and pants way below the bottom is not what anyone should see especially tourists as this paints a bad image of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Nobody wants to see the colour of your boxers! There are some minibus drivers who are so insensitive. For heaven’s sake, look at the commuters that come into your bus and know the kind of music that should be played and the level of the volume. Usually the music is played at such a high volume that if you are talking to the person next to you, you have to practically shout for the other person to hear. And when you ask the driver to turn it down they are more vex than you. Sometimes before you get time to sit down in the bus the driver already starts to drive. And they are still using the hospital gate as a bus stop!

What I’m writing about is not what someone told me. I have seen them for myself so I am calling on the Mini Bus Association to do something about these issues. My recommendations to the authorities who are entrusted with the responsibility of giving licenses to persons to drive mini buses are as follows:

1. Make sure that these persons are at a responsible age – no less than 25 years.

2. Make sure that they are properly trained to drive, especially this type of vehicle.

Remember you are putting people’s lives in their hands. I know that some of them have to meet the bank to repay their loans but that does not give them the right to be driving the way they do. All they seem to be concerned with is the almighty dollar. A new year is ahead of us. Are we going to go into 2015 with that same kind of attitude? Let’s nip it in the bud before it causes us pain and sorrow.

Clifford Gould

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