Our Readers' Opinions
February 4, 2011

Open letter to all mini-bus owners and operators


Minibus Operators and Owners,

If you are operating a minibus for political purposes and not for a profession, this does not apply to you. For the past thirty years or so, minibuses have been doing a great deal of service to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the fare has been one dollar up to this present time. Over these years, an association was established called The National Omnibus association.{{more}}

That association accomplished many things that benefited the minibus owners and passengers, and that happened only because there was an association called N.O.B.A. However, this association became dormant due to the lack of unity and maybe some political intervention that caused much division among owners, drivers, and so forth. Due to this, a lack of unity developed, which was recognized by the public and the government.

So for many years we have minibuses running wild, no order, no leadership and no goals. In other words, it’s dog eat dog, every man for himself. Now, this kind of unorganized business opens the door for ridicule and no accomplishments. For example, we have heard of reckless driving, no respect for the police, loud music, and even music and videos with profanity, conductors not dressing properly and not being polite to the commuters, also drivers, too. We also hear about passengers being squeezed up, and one of the biggest problems is some conductors not charging the right fare, which creates a big problem for other drivers and passengers. Now once these things happen, all van drivers get put in the same category. For instance, you may find some motorists will show no mercy on the road to a van driver. Some of them even go as far as to try to cause an accident, and sometimes it happens.

Over the past thirty years, the cost of living has been rising. To own and to operate a minibus is no easy task. Whether its an old van or a new van, it is not easy to maintain a van to carry passengers back and forth safely to their destinations each and every day. Tyres have to be changed every three months, and some maybe every two months or less; the price for four good brand new tyres ($1,500) and up, service every three weeks ($300). God forbid something major might happen to the minibus. Well, all the money we might have earned for that month has to go right back into your minibus to get it running to maintain your livelihood. The cost of vehicle parts, diesel and gas keeps rising, and expect it to rise again soon, traffic tickets might rise soon, vehicle license have raised 15%, and who knows, drivers license might rise, too, if it didn’t rise already. Not to mention the terrible road conditions. Oh yeah, just to remind you that if gas rises, expect all vehicle parts to rise as well, AND WE ARE STILL WORKING FOR ONE DOLLAR. YEAH, ONE DOLLAR EQUIVALENT TO ABOUT 40 CENTS U.S. WE ARE THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE WORLD WHERE COMMUTE PASSENGERS PAY THIS UNREASONABLE FARE.

When are we going to wake up and put our differences aside and start thinking like men with a profession and not like men who are stuck on a mind set thing with no vision. We will be working everyday very hard and making no profit.

Do you know that it is the van drivers who keep this society going? Each and every day we transport doctors, nurses, workers, students, people who go shopping for food and clothes etc. Without our service, everything comes to a stand still, so you can come to realize how important our service is to the public. How much longer can we keep being under paid and having to work these long hours to try to make ends meet? How long must we keep working and not see a profit due to these high prices on vehicle parts and so forth? NOW IS THE TIME TO COME TOGETHER AND FORM AN ASOCCIATION IN ORDER FOR US TO PROGRESS, TO BENEFIT, TO BE ORGANIZED IS TO SHOW UNITY, AND WITH UNITY WE CAN ACCOMPLISH WHATEVER WE WANT THAT WILL ENHANCE OUR BUSINESS THAT WILL MAKE OUR LIVES MUCH EASIER. We will like to have a meeting soon to establish representatives in each area, and an executive team. Please look for flyers to be distributed with a date for schedule meeting. N.O.B.A. is an organized association that is registered with the government.

Code Red