Zone 1 Bus Operators have taken the decision to regulate themselves as from Monday, October 24th in an effort to fall in line with traffic rules and regulations.
This was one of the issues agreed upon by members of the Grand Anse Bus association at the end of their almost one-week strike action last week to raise concerns about a number of issues affecting them.
During a press conference called on Monday by the Zone I Operators, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, Kevin Peterkin told members of the media that the over two hundred buses on the route will now use the St. George’s Bus Terminal, and decided to suspend all “pound road services” from Monday.
According to Peterkin, if this works as a solution then it would now become their mode of operation.
“Pound road buses” do not use the Bus Terminal on Melville Street but pick up passengers along the Grand Anse route.
Peterkin who also owns a bus wants commuters to understand that full compliance of the law will mean some regular services will have to cease.
He noted that attempting to wait for a passenger at a bus stop makes them law-breakers since the Police then ticket them.
The bus operators have also called for the suspension of on the spot payments of fines for traffic offenses being imposed by Magistrate Jerry Seales.
The busmen want this to cease immediately pending the outcome of the negotiations.
Other contentious issues are the absence of toilet facilities and head covering for Number Two Bus Operators, and for an investigation of the Number Two Bus Terminus as an entertainment centre.
The bus operators placed on the table for discussion the suspension of driver’s license by the Magistrate and a request to make payment for offenses after the licenses have been revoked, bus operators and owners to be represented on the Transport Board, as well as the feasibility of bus stops in some places, and the fluctuating gas prices and high cost of buses.
Under current regulation, a driver who has been ticketed has 31 days to pay the fine.
If he fails to comply he will be summoned to attend court where the Magistrate is entitled to impose a bigger fine on the spot.
Peterkin appealed to bus operators to operate within the law at all times and to seek from the relevant authorities equitable execution of the law by law enforcement officers and the judicial system.
“We will also be the first to admit that we, as bus drivers and operators, doing a very important service to the economic development of the country, and also an integral part of every other sector of this country and society, that we are the biggest culprit of law-breaking traffic regulation,” he said.
However, he warned that any member of the association falling short of complying with the rules will face disciplinary action.
Peterkin said the bus operators reached a point where they cannot operate the way they have been doing for the last two years, hence the strike action was necessary.
However, he believes that the traffic laws are not working and there is need to review them.
Zone 1 President, Roger Telesford who also addressed the media threw cold water on having all of the buses operating out of the bus terminal.
“With the number of buses operating (on) the Grand Anse route… it is difficult, and we can put pen to paper and show operating from the terminus you’re going to operate at a loss,” he said.
Telesford stated that the provision of a proper transportation service was hampered by unequal fare payment at the St. George’s Bus Terminus, as well as bus operators being chased off the bus stops by Police Officers, and insufficient bus stops on the Zone 1 route.
Telesford said efforts were made to meet with different stakeholders to drive home their concerns, but they were unable to reach far.
“We’ve been heavily challenged with the different issues and so we saw it necessary to get a hearing, to get the public’s attention, and to get our issues out,” he added.