ord Evil to no ate rans ort oard s age ng buses under ressure
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.
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?”
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)