Of late the BU family has been critiquing government’s lack of an efficient communications strategy. The reluctance of the Fruendel Stuart government to better communicate to an eager public by scheduling regular press briefings, frequent the numerous talk shows to list two examples cannot be explained. It is difficult to imagine why any government in the prevailing economic climate would exacerbate the situation by not efficiently communicating on the non economic issues. Here is an example:
The Transport Board recently introduced a Hub and Spoke system on a trial basis on Sundays on routes along Highway 1 through to Speightstown. Instead of the usual service to routes from the Princess Alice Terminal such as Pie Corner, Josey Hill, Boscobelle, St. Lucy Church, Indian Ground, there will now be a service to Speightstown or via the Connell Town bus, and having terminated at the Speightstown Terminal, commuters travelling on to those other routes mentioned above will then receive a transfer to those destinations. These transfers are not immediate but on a timetabled basis. At a time jobs are hard to come by Barbadians who rely on public transportation of necessity demand a reliable schedule be able to get to and from their jobs. One would have expected such a significant change to the schedule on the affected West Coast routes would have triggered timely and noisy customer communications. Although there was a little communication to announce the service it is the view of many on the West Coast it was inadequate.
Kudos must still be given to the the Transport Board for aiming to be cost efficient, it is one of several government entities which require a huge annual subsidy.
How is the Transport Board continuing to communicate to West Coast tourists and locals alike who must use the Hub and Spoke? Why wasn’t this same Hub and Spoke experiment also executed along Highway 7? There are several Transport Board services along this main artery where the Hub and Spoke could have also been implemented. Is it because the Transport Board services travelling along this route happen to intersect the Christ Church South constituency now represented by Minister John Boyce and would severely impact his constituents? There is an election on the horizon afterall.
Now that the Hub and Spoke has been implemented for the past two Sundays, can the Transport Board or Minister John Boyce communicate to the public what savings or losses the Hub and Spoke experiment has realized. Is it justified? If not successful, how soon will they revert back to their previous mode of operation and reverse the disruption to the travelling public in the north of Barbados.
Here is hoping for improved communication from a transparent government.