The PSV Sector Needs Help

Minister of Transport

Legislation is on the way to make public service vehicle (PSV) owners accountable for traffic offences committed by their drivers – Nation Newspaper

Last week Minister of Transport John Boyce held a press conference to promise legislation  to rollout the breathalyser, ban cellphone use while driving and provide for electronic vehicle registration. Empty promise or not time will tell. BU took special interest in Boyce’s promise to ‘bring’ legislation which will make owners of PSVs responsible for the offences committed by their drivers. In this instance BU confidently predicts this legislation will not be proclaimed in Barbados anytime soon.

It is regrettable that a business which in the early days was seen as a legitimate Black business has now been bought into and greatly influenced by big business. BU understands that if the names of the owners of PSVs were to be made public Barbadians would be very surprised. Why is it a permit issued to person X can be sold and or be operated by person Y? We therefore have a situation in Barbados where if the owner of the permit is made public an entirely different person is actually ‘operating’ the permit.

Is Minister Boyce saying if he introduced legislation to make the owner accountable for the offences of the driver, it is the original owner of the permit who will be held responsible or the person renting or who has purchased the permit?

Would it not make for a sensible policy if Minister Boyce made it illegal for PSV permits to be operated by any other than who the permit was issued? How about limiting the number of permits owned by a single person? There needs to be more transparency in the ownership of the PSV sector. Is it true there is an ‘Indian Man’ who owns a significant number of PSVs in Barbados? Is it true several PSVs are own by a ‘White Bajan’ reputed to be the daughter of one of the richest men in Barbados? We know politicians, some sitting in parliament, who operate PSVs. How does the ownership factor correlates with the visible indiscipline of the sector?

It is important to make the ownership of the PSV license a transparent affair because Barbadians are in a better position to understand and question indiscipline in the sector. Is it not ironic if Barbadians were to find out that some of our most outstanding citizens are stakeholders in the sector? While wearing the hat of prominent and virtuous citizens by day at night the indiscipline of the sector is condoned for the sake of the almighty dollar. Of course Barbados is a small place and BU can question why some buses are harassed while plying respective routes and others get a ‘pass’. Why is it some of these ‘absentee owners’ given the problems of the sector do not step forward and lend their leadership and management skills to the association?

The recent upheaval in the Minibus and ZR Association which has seen some changes to the executive reflects why the sector is unsettled. Perhaps Minister Boyce could tell the public what the Transport Authority is doing to make the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) a reality? Why have successive governments been unable to efficiently provide oversight and leadership to the PSV sector? Why is it not mandatory for all minibus and PSV owners to be members of an association which would make it better to regulate the sector?

The subculture which is driven by the unruliness of the minibus and ZR sector is threatening to destabilize our once stable society. It is time Barbadians, if we are serious about pulling back from the brink, step up and show leadership in yet another area of society gone to the dogs!

  • Carson C. Cadogan

    The most disgusting business sector in Barbados.

    But of course that is ok, after all they are “black business people”.

    Therefore they can damage, maim, kill, break traffic laws, be as indiscipline as possible, but all we have to worry about is who owns the “permit”.

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  • Carson C. Cadogan

    “The PSV Sector Needs Help”

    I think that Barbados needs help getting the PSV sector off our roads until they get their act together.

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  • Can Minister Boyce advise why there seem to be a deliberate policy under his tenure to crowd certain routes? Why is it PSVs which have been assigned parking areas at the River Terminal have not been using the spaces? We thought with the introduction of the Transport Authority a departure from the nastiness of the past was with us.

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  • @ David

    There is an endemic problem with our culture of nepotism. Once you know someone has your back you can “do a ting”.

    Now, I am sure that most people remember the crack down days under the BLP and how long that lasted…

    There must be some way of making sure that our laws are enforced across the board. Maybe creation of a Fraud Squad that will round up these law breakers.

    I am sure that once you start showing some enforcement the majority will change their ways.

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  • @iWatchya

    You are correct.

    Apparently we have frequent reports of requests for transfers from overcrowded routes being denied yet permits for routes where service is needed such as the Speigtown/Oistins bypass route or St. Patricks only have 4 or 5 PSV operators.

    There is alsi the need to look at the design of routes as well, some of the current routes are outdated in relation to where people now live and work and their movement/commute patterns do not consider current traffic flows.

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  • It is clear that the PSV operators can pick and choose their routes. We definitely need transport planning to realistically look at how public transport is serving Barbados. Until Law and order can be enforced, these operators and their drivers will do as they like. This area is a perfect example of a broken down system plaguing the island.

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  • Isn’t it ludicrous that the various governments from 1955 through to 1979 saw it fit to nationalise the public transport system, progressively taking it out of the hands of private concessionaires who were running an efficient service, judging by today’s standards,and making a pretty penny,only to systematically a few years later, after the final take over to hand back the most lucrative parts of the island routes to a loose group of rag tag operators ,who employ rag tag drivers and conductors.
    Have you ever stood outside the Fairchild Street Bus stand at Midnight ? Some 30 or so ‘last’ buses exit the terminal to their destinations ,which include routes like the Pine where they do not run during the day when revenue is at it highest, or if they do only attract mostly pensioners,as such routes are dominated by the private PSV, which abandons those route after a certain time ,leaving the Transport Board to act as a Tailend Charlie. And many of these 70 seater buses on the last trip , may have no more than 5/10/15 people. If the private PSV abandons their routes at nights, then those operators should be billed by the Transport Board for the expenses incurred.
    But for all that ,the private PSV’s keep industry and Bridgetown rolling by ferrying workers in a fairly timely fashion to the many work places, therefore, this sector is more in need of concessions than the motoring clubs.We the public are already heavily supporting these rally clubs.They receive millions of dollars in sponsorship from the various businesses in Barbados. Where does that money come from? Certainly not out of the shareholders profits,but via exorbitant mark-ups every time you and I do business with these sponsors.
    Word has it that one man who has his hand in the supermarket business has/had a one million dollar rally/racing car, and used to ship it back to the UK for tune ups.

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  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    The PSV sector needs a rude awakening by the law enforcers who must adopt a zero tolerance approach to the daily wreckless and nonsensical driving seen on the roads of Barbados. For too long, the promises of Government have materialised into nothingness. This is due to claims that the majority of these vehicles are owned by prominent and influential persons in various sectors of our society (especially political and judicial members), just to point out a few. The notion held that significant pressure is placed on these operators to bring in a stipulated amount of money on a daily basis during peak hours and any monies earned thereafter are theres’ for the keeping, is not reason enough to break the road laws of Barbados or place life and limb in danger because the hustle is on. No situation, person, status or political standing should put anyone above the law. It is time that Barbados’ approach to law enforcement eradicate all forms of segregation and be executed in fairness and judgement of the situation that presents itself. There should be no white law or black law; No status quo and peasant laws; No politician laws or non politician laws; No laws for lawyers that see their own involve in pilfering having to go before a bar and the small man who pilfers having to go before a judge. It is time that this nonsense stops and let justice be served and not seem to appear that is being served. We very well know that the latter has played out very well in these so called enquiries were again the end result is always nothingness.

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