Transport Board Implements Hub and Spoke System In The North Of Barbados

John Boyce,Minister of Transport

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.

  • Caswell Franklyn

    Before Government implements any reforms it should decide if the Transport Board is to be run on a commercial basis or if it to be operated as a social service which would provide subsidized transportation for the masses. Whichever model Government decides upon, it must still seek to run the board as cost effectively as possible. To this end, it must seek to cut personnel cost by reducing the superfluous management staff on its books . Also theTransport Board should not be used to provide jobs in order to improve the electoral chances of politicians. It is a case where they have too many chief and too many Indians.

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  • @ Caswell
    The long n short of it …is that poor Kelly and Ainsley going have it rough explaining to those workersvoters up North how come they only ax the Speighstown Terminal workers….come elections ?

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  • The point here is that communicating even if it is too much is good. Is it not funny when in opposition we see and here members of the opposition but as soon as they get comfortable in government they elect to hide from the public when the hard issues surface.

    The BLP is currently winning in the use of social media for example. Last general election the table was turned.

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  • A bus ticket in Toronto cost $6bds.
    The service is good.

    Does little Barbados provide a good service for the $1.50 ticket?

    It still amazes me how much little tiny Barbados does with so little.

    And you are correct david. The DLP fails to communicate when in power.The BLP keeps shouting.

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  • @Hants

    The Transport Board service is lousy.

    Successive governments have struggled with a growing deficit.

    It is one of those government entities which is used to pad the employment numbers.

    It never has an adequate number of units available to meet the needs of the public.

    Why must we install political hacks to manage the board?

    They give contracts to who they feel like.

    They buy the buses they feel like.

    They communicate how they feel like, and this is at the policy level. Believe the poor functionaries who try to do their jobs give of their best.

    Many thought the Transport Authority would have brought some leadership to the matter of public transportation.

    In Canada is the public service subsidized by government?

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  • In Toronto the subsidy in 2011 was cad$429 million. You get what you pay for.

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  • Dearest Haunts…Bush fare is now $2.00 and it is a sporadic service. The mini buses are more frequent.

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  • @Islandgal246,

    it is bds$6 where I live and the service is good even though I don’t use it often.
    the bus seats are too hard for my geriatric backside.lol

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  • When I am in Barbados if I don’t have a car I travel by Minibus. The Transport Board service sucks especially for people who use it to go to work.

    Owen Arthur should make improving the Transport Board a priority if he wins the next election.

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  • @Hants

    You would think that these economic gurus would not ignore the concept of national productivity of which efficient transportation is an integral part.

    Econ 101

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  • stupse, ya’ll ppl for real tho? For a third world country Barbados has an excellent transport system. I’m not saying that every thing is perfect, but I have, and continue to use the system everyday. Its all about planning ahead. Many ppl are too last minute.

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  • @bk

    It is usually those who drive who are happy with the public transportation system, in Barbados.

    Why do you think many risk their lives daily to catch some of the ZRs and minibuses?

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  • Observing (and questioning)

    David,
    It is abundantly clear now that the ruling party and government has no communications strategy nor messaging plan. It has and will continue to cost them, especially when as “!” Often points out there are small successes. They have and continue to let events, the opposition and the public frame them rather than the other way around. a massive achilles heel in an election. Sad thing is the better speakers (CS, DI, RJ) are the ones who have been sidelined. It will be a miracle if they can get their act together this year…..they may get other successes (integrity legislation etc.) But the general feel is that its too late to turn the tide and the DLP actors are too weak to rouse an audience out of slumber. Time will tell.

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  • It amazes me that back in the 1960’s we had a mainly Transport Board bus service which could have rivalled ,what CBC weather people like to call , many an international city. 15 -Minute service,on time , every time, to Silver sands, Bush Hall, Grazettes and many other places, with a mix of rolling stock ,some well over 30 years old, taken over from the old concessionaires, and others of modern ilk, like the Leyland Tiger cubs which gave the taxpayers of this country in excess of 25 years service, but all quite serviceable . Breakdowns were few and far between,and the people who ran the Transport Board as well as the private concessionaires did not possess any degrees and any other letters behind their names, other than D,(dedication) CS,(common sense) and C to theT P.(commitment to the travelling public. Like the sugar industry , big heads = small output.
    Wasn’t this Hub and Spoke concept recommended by someone,from overseas of course, who carried out some sort of a survey in the early 1970’s ?

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  • Once again a piece meal approach is taken to a very important public service function in this country.

    The function of providing mass transit public transportation must be taken more seriously by the citizens of this country.

    Such a function, and by extension, business, must remain provided by both private and government enterprises.

    However there must be an entire rationalization and restructuring of this mass transit public transportation sector.

    Both DLP and BLP Governments have patently failed to usher in such important and significant changes, but instead have presided over a mixture of ill-discipline, unruliness, efficiency, confusion and black enterprise, et al.

    A few things that a future PDC Government will do in relationship to this sector are:

    1) The shutting down of the Transport Board in threeyears of the PDC Government coming to office, and its replacement by a modern reliable efficiency customer driven government controlled enterprise;

    2) The establishment of a national cooperative to run the entire minibus and zr business. Such an enterprise shall lease all those then existing mass public transport service vehicles from their owners for uniform stipulated periods of time, for compensation on agreed bases. This cooperative shall be legislated for by the legislature, shall be a partnership owned by those leasing those vehicles to the cooperative, shall be run by a board of non-owner-partners, and shall be responsible ( the cooperative) for the recruitment, discipline, training, termination of driver partners, and conductor partners where possible.

    3) The introduction (reintroduction) of a stage based bus fare system across the country;

    4) The establishment of a modern efficient railway system to run on much of the existing ABC Highway, Spring Garden Highway and Ronal Mapp Highway;

    5) The establishment of a central mass transit port in the country.

    For their persistent failures to help further advance and develop this very important sector, these DLP and BLP factions must be kicked to hell out of the parliament of this country in 6 years time, and be replaced by people and others who have the fundamental interest of the people of Barbados at heart..

    PDC

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  • @ PDC
    The fact that you have not mentioned cycle lanes and requiring offices to provided shower facilities and cycle parking shows that you too are clueless!!! Stupse

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  • As far as aI am concerned, the bus service in Barbados is fantastic when you consider the current economic situation. Delays at Fairchild are excruciating, yes, especially for those who have to get home at the end of the working day to look after their families and the breakdowns are not only infuriating but worrying, especially when they happen at night but all in all it is an amazing service, envied by other countries. Drivers, especially the older more experienced ones, are brilliant drivers, courteous and thoughtful. The bus garages at Bridgetown and Speightstown are clean and well-run, the buses are mostly comfortable. Yes, some seats are uncomfortable and have lost their padding but the service is for the most, reliable. The problem is that there are not enough buses and more services are needed for the growing population so people resort to the smaller buses where they might have a horrifying ride or one where they have to listen to revolting lyrics but even so, it is great that people can get around pretty well, considering. The cost of traveling is not extortionate; visitors are amazed that they can travel the island safely and in comfort, using the buses at times when most locals are at work, thereby helping to pay for what might otherwise be empty routes. Is there a way that tourists who use the bus might be discouraged from traveling at peak times by introducing a bus pass for locals and an additional small amount like an extra dollar for tourists who choose to travel in peak times? I haven’t thought through how expensive it would be to introduce a bus pass to all Bajan nationals but it’s an idea.

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  • victor
    Drivers, especially the older more experienced ones, are brilliant drivers, courteous and thoughtful. The bus garages at Bridgetown and
    Speightstown are clean and well-run, the buses are mostly comfortable. Yes, some seats are uncomfortable and have lost their padding but the service is for the most, reliable.
    *************************************************
    Where in the name of goodness graciousness have you visited ? Not Barbados …BTB ??? naw….clean,courteous,comfortable ? (C-words) ok I get it…sacarsm will get you nowhere…….

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  • @Victor. Is there a way that tourists who use the bus might be discouraged from traveling at peak times by introducing a bus pass for locals and an additional small amount like an extra dollar for tourists who choose to travel in peak times? I haven’t thought through how expensive it would be to introduce a bus pass to all Bajan nationals but it’s an idea.
    ************************************************************************************
    Perhaps instead of penalising/discouraging the tourists ,whether local or visitors, from travelling during peak times, we should offer them a reduced return fare ticket ,tenable during off -peak hours only, say 10 am -3pm.
    But how do you identify a ‘Tourist’ from a ‘worker’ , without being accused of Profiling?

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  • HASNT transport in Barbados been a problem for ages ?

    Transport in Barbados has always been a problem. There was a time when people used to walk from St. Pharlup to Bridgetown and back because of the unavailabilty of transport . Barbados has a problem with Transport and what is worse is that many people dont walk anywhere now. The situation is made worse with the ‘free bus rides ‘ for school children which has made more lazy children from the school population. Children are waiting half and hour for a bus to travel next door to school (2 mins) . This is Ignorance to the 100 th degree. Unfit and overweight people and the lazy bones are taking transport where they catch a bus to go from from one bus stop to the next bus stop meaning the next bus stop in sequence, instead of walking and geting some exercise.
    Transport in Barbados will always be a problem we must live.
    What the Government need to do is allow people to bring in cars off the net like what used to happen before they changed the rules.
    You should be able to buy a car off the net because there are some vehicles in better condition than most here even though they may be 10 years old.
    People should not have to buy a new car to get a car.
    People should be able to use their private cars as Taxis and charge what they feel like charging for transporting other people. People should not need a licence for this crap.. Free up the damn thing and keep people moving

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  • Enuff,

    You wanted us there and then to list almost everything that is needed to be put in place.

    Just hope not.

    PDC

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