Min­istry Code of Con­duct for minibus op­er­a­tors set

-uni­forms re­quired, ‘of­fen­sive’ mu­sic a no-no

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS -

The Min­istry of Busi­ness, in mov­ing to im­ple­ment a Code of Con­duct for minibus op­er­a­tors in the weeks ahead, has re­leased an in­fomer­cial out­lin­ing the op­er­at­ing guide­lines.

The Min­istry, in an in­for­ma­tion video posted on its Face­book page on Fri­day, high­lighted sev­eral guide­lines that minibus op­er­a­tors and other as­so­ci­ated per­son­nel must abide by, be­fore not­ing that the full doc­u­ment will be pub­lished on its web­site at a later date.

Among those men­tioned in the Min­istry’s pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment were the pro­hi­bi­tion of loud and of­fen­sive mu­sic, proper dis­play of fare struc­ture in the minibus, pro­hi­bi­tion of of­fen­sive lan­guage, and con­sid­er­a­tion for vul­ner­a­ble groups, in­clud­ing the el­derly and per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties.

Ad­di­tion­ally, it was noted that op­er­a­tors and as­so­ci­ated per­son­nel are ex­pected to wear uni­forms, along with an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion badge or card.

How­ever, Pres­i­dent of the United Minibus Union (UMU), Eon An­drews, ex­plained that the par­ties in­volved have not yet for­mally signed any doc­u­ments, as they are still in the process of “fine- tun­ing,” par­tic­u­larly as it re­lates to en­force­ment.

Not­with­stand­ing, he is hope­ful that the process will be com­pleted within a short pe­riod of time, which will al­low for the im­ple­men­ta­tion and adop­tion of the guide­lines.

The Sun­day Stabroek un­der­stands that the Code of Con­duct is manda­tory for all minibus op­er­a­tors and other per­son­nel to com­ply by law, as such, it is com­pul­sory that op­er­a­tors be­come au fait with the Code of Con­duct through the United Minibus Union.

Fur­ther, per­sons us­ing pub­lic trans­porta­tion are ad­vised to re­port any vi­o­la­tion of the code to the po­lice.

Mean­while, the an­nounce­ment of the pro­posed im­ple­men­ta­tion was met with mixed re­ac­tions from those who took time to view the Min­istry’s in­fomer­cial.

Do­minique Et­wa­roo, a Face­book user said, “Fi­nally some­thing good, but peo­ple need to help the GPF by re­port­ing those un­ruly driv­ers and con­duc­tors.”

Grace Babb, an­other user said, “I agree with this 100%, at one time the bus op­er­a­tors empty the al­ready full bus be­cause a pas­sen­ger refuse to en­cour­age over­load (refuse to drive the bus) mid-morn­ing hours... it’s about time they get strict with them and the fines be se­vere.”

How­ever, oth­ers made known their lack of con­fi­dence in the Guyana Po­lice Force as en­forcers of the code of con­duct.

“I ap­plaud this code of con­duct. How­ever, I have been the ob­ject of ver­bal abuse be­cause I have ob­jected to loud mu­sic and over­load. I went to make a re­port at the Brick­dam Sta­tion to no avail, I hope to see this truly en­forced; us­ing pub­lic trans­porta­tion is not a nice ex­pe­ri­ence,” Phoenix Shamecca com­mented.

“Now that is a great start !!!! Might not be the best, but def­i­nitely on its way for con­trol­ling the un­con­trol­lable in the past! My rec­om­men­da­tion since I crit­i­cized is to make sure the rec­om­men­da­tions that were made in that com­mer­cial are en­forced !!!! ” an­other user, Christo­pher C. Gill said.

Last Oc­to­ber, the UMU agreed to pro­pose to its mem­bers, the adop­tion of a draft Code of Con­duct for minibus op­er­a­tors coun­try­wide.

Ac­cord­ing to a press state­ment is­sued by the Min­istry of Busi­ness, a num­ber of grievances were high­lighted dur­ing a meet­ing be­tween the union and the min­istry by Muriel Tin­nis, Direc­tor of the Con­sumer Af­fairs De­part­ment within the min­istry.

She ex­plained that there con­tin­ues to be com­plaints about speed­ing, tout­ing and over­load­ing of buses. She added, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease, that one of the ma­jor com­plaints re­ceived, was that of over­charg­ing, par­tic­u­larly within routes. There were also com­plaints that op­er­a­tors for cer­tain routes charge pas­sen­gers a higher fare at nights.

In re­ply, An­drews said many of the con­cerns voiced by con­sumers are jus­ti­fied. The re­lease said that he was op­ti­mistic that the Code of Con­duct would ad­dress the is­sue of tout­ing and over­load­ing.

The re­lease added that the Code of Con­duct en­com­passes is­sues such as cus­tomer ser­vice, health and safety, li­cens­ing and com­pli­ance and the gen­eral op­er­a­tion of buses. The union was set to dis­cuss the draft of the Code of Con­duct pre­sented by the Min­istry with its mem­ber­ship and sign on once there is con­sen­sus.

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