Public Utilities and Transport Minister, Gregory Bowen has announced that government is moving to tackle the problem of after hours transportation that is affecting workers mainly in the hotel sector.
Late night transportation has been an issue for many Grenadians, especially workers in the hospitality industry who get off work at 11 o’clock at nights and find it difficult to get home due to lack of public transportation.
Speaking to reporters at a post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister Bowen who is considered as the No.2 man in the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration said that the newly elected government is trying to address the issue by introducing an after hours transportation system.
Without giving specific details, the senior government minister said that government is taking the necessary steps to ensure that all concerned parties are on board with what was being proposed.
“We know many times we’re driving along and we see our young beautiful young ladies waiting on the side of the road to get to St. Andrew and to the north of the country, they work in the hotel belt. So, we must ensure that the transportation system provides for off-hours transportation in particular to accommodate our young ladies and young men too but more so, young ladies,” he said.
Minister Bowen spoke about a particular encounter he had with a young lady which encouraged him to give the bus initiative some serious thought.
He said: “At one time I was travelling and a lady asked me for a lift and I said maybe she knows me. She did not know me and I asked her, ‘you feel safe to come into the car with me, she said, ‘yes, I could feel something and I don’t see any danger with you…”.
“I said, you’re doing this every night, ‘she said, when I have to’. It dawned on me that we must get the transportation system in such a way that we can provide for our young people coming from the north of the country and many of them are refusing jobs because they cannot get home on time”, he added.
Minister Bowen explained the kind of approach that can be taken on board by the various Bus Associations on the island if they are willing to engage in the process.
“We’ll call the Bus Association, discuss with them, get a schedule route and get them to participate. So that maybe every hour you may have three buses leaving Grand Anse and four buses leaving St. George, they all merge at one point or that particular time of the day you can have routes where they simply take the workers from Grand Anse, go through the Western side, directly from Grand Anse again go through the Eastern side, directly from Grand Anse again, go through Grand Etang and over the hills, so we will discuss that in the arrangement…”, he said.
“So, the young ladies from Birchgrove will know that a particular time, a particular bus will leave. And then those bigger buses, if that’s the case we might ask them to run, all in harmony and conjunction with the various Bus Associations,” he added.
The minister also announced that a sytem could be put in place for workers going to work in the morning period in the hotel sector.
Under the current public transport system, the buses are required to travel on specific routes and drop all passengers at the Bus Termial in the city.
According to Minister Bowen, goverrnment is trying to find a way around this specification in the law.
He said: “We’re looking for the provision in the regulations to ensure that… if you get to Woodlands, you come through the Eastern Main Road, you just turn left and you drop the people at the (work) site…”.
“We will discuss with the various Bus Associations. You may not be able to take up one passenger, you just drop your persons off and go to the bus terminus in town and then continue with your daily chores and this will happen only in the mornings. I am sure that I will be discussing with … the Bus Associations to see what can happen in the afternoons”, he added.