Scores of commuters traveling to the south of the island were left stranded Tuesday at the St. George’s Bus Terminal as the private bus operators resorted to strike action.
The bus operators of Zone 1 took strike action to register their displeasure over the stiff sentences that are handed down on them by in court by the Magistrate in charge of the Traffic Court, Jerry Seales.
The busmen have been complaining for sometime about the harsh penalty that is often slapped on them by Magistrate Seales for road traffic offenses brought to the court by Police Officers.
The most frequent offense involving bus drivers are picking up passengers outside of a regular bus stop.
THE NEW TODAY was told that the Magistrate will at times impose a hefty fine on bus operators to be paid on spot, as well as take away their driver’s license for a lengthy period of time, and in some instances order a prison sentence.
One bus conductor was seen carrying a placard, which read: “Jerry Must Go,” while there were buses carrying placards, which called for proper facilities at the bus terminal.
The bus operators are also disgruntled over the number of route stickers that are issued by the Transport Board for Zone 1 that is considered as the most lucrative and active bus route on the island.
A high-ranking member of the St. George’s Bus Terminal informed THE NEW TODAY newspaper that approximately 167 buses use the facility.
There are other buses often referred to as “Pound Road” who do not use the paid Terminal in order to ply their trade.
While the bus operators can feel satisfied over the success of the strike action for the morning rush hours, they failed to receive solidarity from other bus associations, which kept their buses operating.
In the face of the strike action, the St. George’s University made available some of its coasters to collect their stranded workers at the bus terminal.
A number of Police Officers including members of the Special Services Unit (SSU) under the guidance of Superintendent of Police, Floyd Dragon, Officer in Charge of Central Police Station were on hand monitoring the situation.
The bus operators converged at Camerhogne Park in Grand Anse, St. George’s where rank and file members of the association were engaged in discussions among themselves.