Our Readers' Opinions
November 25, 2016
Parliament needs to regularize minibus operations

Editor: The time has come for Parliament to pay serious attention to the regulation of minibus operations throughout St Vincent and the Grena­dines (SVG). I am baffled, despite many articles in the newspapers, comments on radio programmes, that nothing of any significance has been done in this area. What is the reason why this issue has not been addressed by Parliament? Is it because the Parliamentarians have not been using public transport, so they have no experience of what the public goes through? They need to make a better effort to address this issue.{{more}}

Travelling to Georgetown last Friday, a passenger on a minibus continuously complained about the loud music. The conductor asked, ‘Ms, when you came in the bus you met the music like this?’ The passenger could not take any more; she got off the bus in Arnos Vale – that was 7:45 p.m. That’s just part of the story; the bus drove up Town Hill and exited through the no entry sign, then formed its own lane alongside a slow moving lane, eventually cutting off another vehicle. All the while, the conductor was drinking, along with another standing passenger from a quart of Sunset. This means the bus was also overcrowded.

It is astonishing that buses full of passengers are permitted to drive through the Akers Road, exiting at Argyle. This is a dangerous route for buses with passengers and needs to be addressed urgently.

Passenger buses continue to stop at the corner of the entrance to the Arnos Vale Playing Field; their indicators are signalling out while still taking up passengers; they simply drive on the outer lane at Sunrise, cutting off other drivers; they overtake on the left, just above The Moon, going to town; they simply block the road while exiting from the Leeward bus terminal. There are many more examples – it is a disaster.

The traffic police on motorbikes show no regard for the traffic laws; they create three-way lanes where none exist and they simply dart in and out and around traffic, especially if the traffic is slow moving. If I may add, they need to spend an equal amount of time on traffic laws enforcement, as they spend on traffic regulation.

I am trying to understand why the Argyle Road above the airport was allowed to deteriorate to its present state. Certainly, the Ministry of Transport and Works should have made a better effort, with so many engineers at its disposal. This, from a layman’s perspective, is a common sense issue; with erratic rainfall, a major highway compounded by works being done immediately below the road, this should not have occurred. It is not so difficult to feel the insensitivity; gasoline prices increased at the same time for those of us who have to take a much longer route to and from Kingstown.

I remember specifically, that the Prime Minister stated we calling for improved road conditions and the money has to come from somewhere to pay for it. So, why have we been paying increased fees for licences, registrations, etc? Is it simply to give the PM bragging rights: ‘we had increased revenues this period over last year’? A person should be able to walk into the Licence Office and get a copy of a Driver’s Manual of SVG, with all the increased fees we are paying, this should be made available. This manual should contain questions and answers for learners, signs, traffic laws and driving etiquette.