ord Evil to no ate rans ort oard s age ng buses un­der ressure

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page - By Randy Ben­nett

With less than half its fleet avail­able for daily use, the Trans­port Board is in a jam.

It has been more than ten years since new buses were pur­chased and the state-owned or­gan­i­sa­tion is strug­gling to ad­e­quately ser­vice all of its routes with an ag­ing fleet.

For weeks, peo­ple who utilise the Trans­port Board’s ser­vices have been com­plain­ing about be­ing left stranded for hours, and Mar­ket­ing and Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ager Lynda Holder, ad­mit­ted things were dire.

She said the chal­lenges be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced by the Trans­port Board had af­fected all of its routes.

“The Trans­port Board con­tin­ues to ex­pe­ri­ence some se­ri­ous chal­lenges and all of our routes are be­ing af­fected. We ac­knowl­edge that this sit­u­a­tion has been go­ing on for an ex­tended pe­riod,” Holder told the WEEK­END NA­TION.

“How­ever, we con­tinue to ex­plore var­i­ous so­lu­tions and have put dif­fer­ent ar­range­ments in place in an ef­fort to ad­dress these chal­lenges. Al­though it must be noted that the res­o­lu­tion will not be im­me­di­ate.”

Holder said one of the Board’s main is­sues re­sulted from its old fleet of buses. She re­vealed while they had 275 buses, just over 100 were be­ing used on a daily ba­sis.

Back in July, the Trans­port Board stoutly de­fended its 2016 de­ci­sion to hire Trinida­dian fleet con­sul­tant David Bartholomew to as­sist in re­pair­ing some of the many bro­ken buses. The Board said due to his work, the av­er­age num­ber of buses be­ing used on a daily ba­sis at that time had risen from 117 to 150.

Chal­lenges

How­ever, this num­ber seems to have dropped again as Holder said:

“At this time, we have in our fleet over 200 buses, but re­cently our daily bus avail­abil­ity has been av­er­ag­ing 110. This makes it chal­leng­ing to ser­vice the over 90 routes in our net­work and the school ser­vices where we sup­ply ser­vice to all 23 sec­ondary schools and a num­ber of the pri­mary schools.

“It must be noted that we have not had any new bus pur­chases since 2006, which means that our buses are of a cer­tain age. The youngest buses are 11 years old.”

“Un­for­tu­nately, there is no time­line for when these is­sues will be rec­ti­fied, but there is an on­go­ing, co­he­sive plan aimed at achiev­ing a res­o­lu­tion. The Trans­port Board is cog­nizant of the tri­als be­ing felt by the com­muters and is do­ing what we can to ad­dress this sit­u­a­tion.”

Philip May­nard, who re­sides in St Martin’s, St Philip, told the WEEK­END NA­TION he could no longer rely on the Trans­port Board and had waited for hours for a bus which never came.

“It has got­ten to the point now where when I need to get home by a cer­tain time I catch a taxi. It is a lot more costly, but at least I know I will be home at the time that I want. If I’m not in a hurry and I have a cou­ple hours to kill then I would go in the bus ter­mi­nal and wait for a bus.”

Janelle Col­ly­more, who would only re­veal that she lived in “the north” de­scribed wait­ing for a bus as a “hit or miss”.

“You never know what you are go­ing to get. Some­times the bus comes and some­times it doesn’t. You have to pray that you don’t miss the bus be­cause if you do, you have to wait hours be­fore an­other one comes,” she lamented.

Ef­forts to reach Min­is­ter of Trans­port Michael Lash­ley for com­ment proved un­suc­cess­ful up to press time. ex­er­cise its dis­cre­tion and re­voke Jack­man’s bail af­ter he was caught in breach of his cur­few, at 11:54 p.m., by po­lice.

But Holder said the ac­cused had been obey­ing the re­stric­tions of his bail, in­clud­ing re­port­ing to po­lice daily.

The at­tor­ney fur­ther said even af­ter the breach of his cur­few, Jack­son still con­tin­ued to re­port to po­lice.

“One day,” Holder later de­clared, adding: “He has com­plied with the cur­few ex­cept for one day. Is that jus­tice in this coun­try?”

re udice

He said the ac­cused was be­ing tar­geted be­cause of who he was and be­cause the breach is al­leged to have oc­curred in the pres­ence of the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice.

“My client, hav­ing com­plied with bail con­di­tions since May 10, 2016, the po­lice are say­ing his bail should be re­voked based on be­ing out at 11:45 p.m. on Oc­to­ber 28, 2017, hav­ing com­plied with ev­ery­thing prior to that and ev­ery­thing af­ter that. And tell me this isn’t prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion,” he said, adding the cur­few vi­o­la­tion was a “minis­cule breach in terms of com­pli­ance with ev­ery other sin­gle con­di­tion”.

He said the pros­e­cu­tion was, by its sub­mis­sions, ask­ing the court to dis­re­gard all pre­vi­ous com­pli­ance by Jack­man.

“Are you try­ing to tell me that this is the first time that any per­son granted bail breached a con­di­tion of a bail? And they ain’t went be­fore the court?” he asked.

“I have seen peo­ple who have re­peat­edly breached bail con­di­tions and they are never brought be­fore the court for it to be re­voked; more strin­gent con­di­tions than those im­posed on my client and breached them re­peat­edly, vi­o­late cur­few, re­fused to re­port.”

The at­tor­ney said that jus­tice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.

“Jus­tice has to be fair for ev­ery­body re­gard­less of class, creed, re­li­gion, et cetera. It must be ex­hib­ited that way. You can­not par­tic­u­larise be­cause of who he is. That is not what jus­tice is all about,” said Holder.

“Our con­sti­tu­tion pro­tects ev­ery­one. It must be fair or at least ap­pear to be fair.” (HLE)

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