Temporary shuttle service to transport passengers to the PSV terminal

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A temporary solution has been found to alleviate the problems faced by public service vehicle operators complaining of being reported by police for operating outside the Constitution River Terminal (CRT) at night.

The pilot will see an overnight shuttle service by the Transport Board picking up commuters from across the island and taking them directly to the terminal.

The news was welcomed by Alliance Owners of Public Transport spokesman Mark Haynes, who said Barbados TODAY that PSV workers would no longer have to worry about being reported by police for picking up passengers from Fairchild Street after hours.

PSV operators have long argued that passengers are afraid to enter the CRT at night because they do not feel safe walking through the dark passageways leading to the terminal.

Haynes said the temporary solution was proposed following a visit to the CRT and Fairchild Street bus station by Transport Minister Ian Gooding-Edghill and officials from the Transport Board, the Royal Barbados Police Force and ministry officials two weeks ago.

Haynes also said the CRT’s hours of operation needed to be extended while area lighting and cameras also needed to be improved.

“We met and we found a temporary solution that is still under consideration,” said Haynes. “We are now considering using a shuttle service and this will transport commuters from different parts of the islands to the CRT. The minister understands the situation and is trying to remedy it.

“They will be transported from the different points to the CRT, so it was agreed that the CRT will reopen, thus allowing the buses to be in this area because the issue of security arose where people were assaulted and people were abused and there were all kinds of activities going on around what they call the “slum” at night.

“It was a matter of security, so the police and everyone in the entourage agreed that security was an issue. So, to appease the situation, they are considering the temporary shuttle service that will be put in place by the Régie des transports and once we all agree with the different routes that should be put in place at short notice so that the Commuters are then made aware through departmental advertising and put it in the public domain so that commuters know where they can take the shuttle service to get to the CRT.

Haynes, the head of communications, information and marketing for AOPT, revealed that while the pilot would be free while it was deployed, he was unsure whether commuters would eventually have to pay to use the service.

PSV’s two bodies, AOPT and the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO), rejected the suggestion to pay the shuttle bill, with Haynes saying they were unable to do so.

Haynes said Barbados TODAY: “Initially, it’s supposed to be a free pilot project but after the first month we don’t know what will happen and if a cost will be attached but the first month according to the discussions that we had it is supposed be free.

“For the moment, the two organizations are not in a position, given our precarious financial situation, to finance it. This was offered to us, but AOPT told the minister that we were not able to fund it, so we don’t know if after the end of the month if there will be any fees attached.

A previous proposal put forward for a bridge to be built between River Road at car dealership NASSCO and CRT was not possible at this time due to a lack of funds, Haynes said.
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