Minibus operators begin to sign up for e-Bus system
Mini-bus operators last Friday were involved in an awareness session regarding the introduction of the e-Bus system in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
The system would allow members of the public to know what time a bus would be arriving at a particular point by checking an app or the website on their device.
The app can be downloaded onto any personal device from the www.ebus.gov.vc website, the App Store,Google Play stores, or iTunes.
Project co-ordinator for the e-Bus Programme Donnette O’Neil told SEARCHLIGHT that many members of the travelling public are excited about the project and are keen to test the app and to browse the website, in an effort to understand the benefits to them.
But there is some degree of hesitancy among bus operators.
“They tell us that they do not want to be trapped, but they are missing the main point,” O’Neil said, “If you want to get as many passengers it is always good for the passengers to know the approximate time that you are coming for them to congregate in the area.
“We are hoping that the bus drivers realise that happy passengers mean happy van drivers, because they would want to go on a bus that has the e-Bus system installed in it so they will know when the bus is coming.”
She said knowing the approximate time a bus would be at a particular bus stop is “a very good convenience for passengers, and a lot of them are really excited and hoping that the vans from their area sign on so they could have a much easier life.”
At last Friday’s final awareness session around 30 bus operators had signed up with the programme, O’Neil explained.
Prior to the commencement of the project, meetings were held with the St. Vincent Transport Association – VINTAS, and the discussions also involved changing the initial configuration of the devices. The devices would automatically come on when the engine is switched on, but VINTAS requested that the bus operators be allowed to turn the device on or off themselves.
“Everything was fine until this year when the government had to put restrictions on them because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there came some negative feedback,” O’Neil pointed out.
She said the feedback from those who have signed on has been positive.
They have to get used to turning on the device, and O’Neil said that they have had to keep reminding the drivers to turn on the devices.
One of the desires from both members of the travelling public and government officials is that the e-Bus system will bring about much improved management of the public transportation sector.
“The e-Bus system is a matter of convenience for the public, and the management is dependent on the bus drivers to organise themselves,”O’Neil said.
She pointed out that many buses arrive at the same time while many passengers are at the various stops along the roads, waiting for a bus, “so they need to among themselves on this route and that route say ‘you work at this hour, I will work at this hour’ because they all will get passengers.,” she added.
“This is not organising, but assisting with a form of convenience towards pushing them to organising themselves. Because the passengers will know which bus stop they will be at, most of the passengers will go there for that time.
“So there is less likelihood of one going to a bus stop and nobody being there, because they do not know when you are coming”.
O’Neil said : “We are in a testing phase and have not been fully launched as yet. So you will see things going on but that is just testing the accuracy.”
Friday July 23, 2021 was the final day of the Awareness Campaign at the Windward bus terminal where a booth was set up from which information was given to the public.
Installation of devices on buses will continue on July 31 at the car park of the Public Library.
Passengers who were present at the awareness session were of the opinion that the bus operators need to change with the times, and improve the service they are providing to the public.