Need To Probe Maintenance Program At The Transport Board

Submitted by John Dillinger

John Boyce,Minister of Transport

For the second time in a couple months, morning rush hour traffic is being warned by Operations Control of the RBPF of an oil spill by a Transport Board bus which was on its way to Bridgetown. This time the spill extends from the Garden, St. James to Derricks, St. James and there are reports of one accident and another vehicle running of the road.

A couple months ago, a Transport Board bus had an oil spill coming up Horse Hill, St. Joseph all the way to the area of Groves Corner on its way to Bridgetown. At that time, several vehicles also ran off the road. Are these cases of poor maintenance at the Transport Board?

We also had a Transport Board bus running off the road into the car park at Sheraton Centre and damaging several parked cars after it had just left a garage in Kendal Hill undergoing repair work.

A Transport Board bus rear axle and wheels separated from the chassis in Holetown near to Limegrove one evening as it was transporting schoolchildren to Bridgetown.

There was also the case of the tyre separating from a wheel of Transport Board bus in the area of the St. Alban’s Church and gouging out the asphalt in the road there. These incidences makes Barbadians question the safety and completeness of the Transport Board maintenance process.

These are the same Transport Board units on which our pensioners and schoolchildren travel free in addition to transferring tourists from the airport to port so we need to have these in pristine working order. Lets hope that these frequent incidents are not a sign of poor oversight or financing to enable the Transport Board to be able to carry out necessary and regular maintenance on its units to ensure the travelling safety of its commuters and those of its bus operators

0 thoughts on “Need To Probe Maintenance Program At The Transport Board

    • Check out this position by the minister reaching back to 2009:

      Transport Board to focus on maintenance rather than new buses


      By Nicholas Cox

      There is no need to buy new buses for the Transport Board if an effective maintenance programme is in place.

      Minister of Transport and Works, John Boyce, said yesterday that Government was not planning on buying new buses at this time. He was speaking during the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) lunchtime lecture at the party’s headquarters on George Street yesterday afternoon. Boyce argued that buses between seven and ten years old are not old, and that in examining the age of fleets in developed countries, and other Caribbean countries, buses this age are the norm.

  1. If there is one disappointment we have is with the inability of Minister Boyce to effectively manage the transportation system in Barbados. Four years later can we say there has been any improvement to what the minister found?

    Regarding the subject of this blog. What are the safety standards which UCAL must have signed off on? If the PSV had some of these issues would we be so nonchalant?

  2. Minister Boyce has wrecked every ministry he has touched. Our roads are in they poorest state ever. Transport Board has not bought a new bus since 2007. This man has provided non leadership and has a good management team at Transport Board but continues to frustrate and delay any improvement plans submitted by the GM and Chairman.

    John Boyce is known to frustrate workers and employees where evr he has worked, can’t say manage as he is a failure at that. Help us please……

  3. There was also a situation,similar to the Holetown incident where another rear axle was separated from a bus in July last year on the ABC Highway near to the Lowlands Junction.
    The first line of preventive maintenance begins with the driver.In many organisations , outside of Barbados, of course, drivers are required to carry out basic checks, before taking the vehicle out of the depot, and again when it returns to the depot at the end of the shift . Also during the course of the day, or night, when the bus reaches its destination, and is about to turn around, a walk around, ”Kick -the-tyres” check should be carried out by the driver. Very often a unit may leave the depot in perfect working order,and due to the roller coaster rides on many of our highways , items such as tyres ,fuel tanks etc may become loose . The unions,I believe does not encourage drivers here to carry out these vital basic safety check. Some years ago , a friend of mine, a qualified engineer stopped a Transport Board bus and informed the driver that the unit was spilling engine oil on the road. He replied that he was not a mechanic, and proceeded to drive the bus, and eventually , the engine stalled, probably seized costing tens of thousands of dollars to replace it.
    These days we hear many pushing the idea of privatising the Transport Board. The Maintenance of the running stock has now been fully privatised, and we are seeing the results . When the Transport Board had its own workshop and maintenance staff, these guys were very dedicated and realised what it meant for a bus to break down or spend an inordinately amount of down time in the workshop. But today Downtime and Breakdowns puts money into the contractors pockets.
    David, we have no standards in Barbados. UCAL, the Transport Board or the Licensing Authority. Everyone does his own thing, that is why when one of these PSV is involved in a serious accident, like that which occured in Joes River , no one can be held accountable.

  4. The problem at the Transportboard is strictly a political problem. Politicians have ruined the TB there is no reason that it should be loosing so much money but after all their “friends” have to make money to give back something when the time for financing comes. And I mean both parties, although I understand that this current board is the worst that the TB has ever had, all of the major repairs and a great deal of the minor repairs are out sourced.

    The outside contractors L & N workshop, (they do good work) Quality Care, Simpson Motors and Transtech are killing and draining the TB of resources. Alot of parts I understand are wasted by Quality Care and Transtech well a true friend would pay those kind of prices. Unfortunately, the Chairman has a close relationship with Transtech and the Deputy chairman has one with Quality Care so the tax payers would always be smelling hell and the TB loosing millions yearly. The outsourcing of mechanical work is what is really killing the TB, that and some of the board members making sure their friends get all the contracts. Imagine a bus has a flat and Quality Care get over $400. dollars (yes four hundred) and like I said over. Thats to fix the flat and to travel there.

    What transport board needs is a hands off from politicians, fair tendering for contracts (yes the only go to the partisian people) and the workshop back with proper foremen and supervisors those outside contractors not even Simpson Motors can fix those buses like the folks at UCAL. And UCAL is cheapest of them all. The politicians have raped and abused the transport board and are now shouting privatise because the chamber fo commerce etc are complaining.

    When tenders were given for cheap no good batteries and no good expensive tyres did they not know (the board that is, both governments) that I would be costing the taxpayers dearly to buy that crap?

    Oh and a lot of those mishaps occur on buses fixed mainly by Transtech and Quality Care. Imagine the Sheraton accident the guys transtech did not reattached the brakes, so the driver she had no brakes when she went to stop. Transtech fixed the bus so a was a hush hush thing. And axle falling off in holetown, well the driver complain about a “noise” for months but no one took him seriously – said he just did not want to work etc. But glad that BM586 did not cause and lost of life to those school children on board.

  5. “Minister Boyce has wrecked every ministry he has touched”
    Blatant untruth. Mr Boyce has been the only Minister of Transport and works since the current administration assumed office.

  6. You are seeing the symptoms of a larger problem. The problem is that the entire TB system is corrupt and decisions are being made based on personal gain, not ‘best practices’. The problem starts with the buses themselves which, despite having been proved unsuitable for service in Bim, were continually bought in over several supply contracts. In some cases buses are using two or three transmissions per year when private sector weight-equivalent trucks are using one every eight or ten years. 15 years ago it was decided due to the workshop fiasco (half the units out of service, one mechanic employed for each bus etc.) that the maintenance would be tendered out; this plan changed when Trotman flexed his BWU muscle and formed UCAL with the same ‘technicians’ and supervisors who brought the system to its knees in the first place. The answer to this, like so many other national problems, is to let the free market work to provide the bus service. If fares are fixed, routes publicly auctioned every five years and illegal practices properly policed and prosecuted (without corruption determining penalties based on who owns the license as is currently the case) the market will sort itself out.

  7. If fares are fixed, routes publicly auctioned every five years and illegal practices properly policed and prosecuted (without corruption determining penalties based on who owns the license as is currently the case) the market will sort itself out.
    All well intentions ..BUT NOT BOUT HAY…..we don’t have a free market on anything bredds….If i start back goat races today tomorrow Govt will have some Body in place to regularize, tax and control so as to decide my direction….

  8. “MAINTENANCE” at all levels is a foreign word in Barbados, whether its housing, health, Transport Board, infrastructure etc. Government continually buys new STUFF as the cure all to all sorts of ills which is unproductive and ineffective.

  9. I’ve been noticing also bus breakdowns on my way back home last night from a dinner. One Marcopolo model broke down in Newbury and a Caio model at the crossroads coming from Prerogative to Greens. Both at the same time of the night.

    Mercedes Benz of course.

    It is going to be interesting what is happening to the transport board as of late.

  10. I am under the impression also that many of the Transport Board’s buses are not fitted with head lamp did switches. How else can one explain the reluctance of many bus drivers to extend the courtesy of dipping from headlight main beam on approaching oncoming traffic, even when signalled by other drivers to do so.

  11. @ islandgal246 one human can’t be that bad and incompetent ! We have seen proof of his lack of planning and communocaion skills but is he that bad ??

    General info: The Drainage section was also taken from him, thank God we can’t handle the bad roads, messed up Transport Board and flooding as well.

    Check his work history:
    (1) Banks ….. regard as a joker by staff and other senior managers.
    (2) Piton Beer ….. that too failed.
    (3) Almond Beach….. plant suffered under his tenure as maintenance Engineer. Run down state occurred whilst he was in charge.
    (4) MTW …. roads in worse state ever in history.
    (5) Transport Board … ain’t buy a bus for the past 5 years. Staff is fed-up with his know all do nothing attitude.

    As the earlier blogger said.. We need help more than ever…….

  12. Perhaps what the Transport Board needs, is a ‘Base Workshop” , where buses on reaching a certain age can be completely overhauled and have its life extended for a number of years. We tend to forget that the British Leyland Tiger Cubs, with their Pneumo-Cyclic gearboxes, gave this country 25 + years of sterling service.
    There are some transport entities in Barbados with trucks well over 20 years old,that are still quite serviceable and economical to operate. Age is not an overriding criteria to renew a piece of equipment, providing that it has been well and adequately maintained.

  13. Colonel, exactly why it needs to be privatised and policed. If the private mini buses can run for 20 years then they all need to be operated by those experienced people. Barbados doesn’t have big problems but they all begin and end with poor management by people who couldn’t get a job in the private sector. Until we decide what to do with the slackers the snivel service will always be used as an unemployment system with the rest of us footing the bill and suffering the inefficiencies for it.

    • BUt if we privatize the transportation sector does the government renege on its social responsibility to ensure there is affordable transportation?

      The solution must be to fix the problem and not pass the buck at the expense of taxpayers.

  14. @ David
    The bus services in London and New York are operated by private companies under contract to government with fares set by government.

  15. @ David; we have systems in place to regulate consumer prices for national services like BL&P. The purpose of Gov’t is to regulate, facilitate, tax. The last administration got the facilitation and taxing done right, this administration can’t even spell facilitate but they sure understand taxing. There is no service or product currently provided by Gov’t that the private sector couldn’t do better/cheaper/more efficiently. If our regulatory bodies are in place and functioning.

  16. Why do most of you guys sound so political Min Boyce and the people at the TB are doing a good job in these hard economic times i think some of you needs to give credit where credit it due….Its not easy on the goverment right now because of whats going on with the economy but Min Boyce is continuing to do this best…..And who say if the BLP was in power if the same thing wouldnt be happening as we already know the buses are old….Being Political doesnt always give the right answers to the question

    • Can we say that we have seen an improvement in the on time service of the Transport Board?

      Have we seen and improvement in the maintenance program?

      Have we seen a reduction in the government subsidy?

      Have we seen a focus on the PSV sector?

      Have we seen an effective Transport Authority?

  17. I am of the opinion that there are many out there who are capable and willing to take over the Transport Board routes and run them, but are not so eager to invest money in purchasing the fleet of buses unless they get them at a knock down price.
    The old private concessionaires knew what they were doing, much of their fleet comprised 31 seater buses, with a few 40 and 60 passenger ones. They knew when and to which routes to assign these buses. Today its not uncommon to see three standard BTB buses one behind the other with a total of some 10 to 15 passengers. At times it would be more economical for the BTB to hire a Maxi Taxi to take those people home.

  18. Hello ” Dark & Lovely” it is you who is blinded by political alliance.
    If you take an objective view, you will see that the bus stock has not been added to. It would make sense to buy smaller buses for some routes.
    By defending the politician you are making the management team at TB look bad, They are good people just hindered by incompetent political directorship.
    Wish TB had a decisive and clear leader like Donville Inniss. HE has turned around the health ministry. The same cannot be said of the big voice man who is and will always be an incompetent manager.

    We need help more than ever……

  19. As it is ! | July 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM |

    @ islandgal246 one human can’t be that bad and incompetent ! We have seen proof of his lack of planning and communocaion skills but is he that bad ??

    Quoted by Lost One in Christ Church South

    “The man is rude and pompous and cares for no one. He always blame the last Goverment for everything. They left office 4+ years ago and he can’t get his team to support him, due to his arrogant and know all attitude.

    His last PA left him and his new one who is well known in the area is not happy either as he is known to call a spade a spade and will not tolerate Boyce’s deceit and “lookdown attitude” on the people of the area.

    Boyce came in on a swing and will leave on a swing. Every thing he touches turns to lead as he is lazy and bombastic with his loud voice. This has been demonstrated in the House recently when he questioned if the representative of St. Thomas had attended UWI. The idiot knows that she did not but he likes to practise sarcasm.

    Lord please deliver us from this incompetent man.”

    I rest my case!

  20. islandgal246 | July 25, 2012 at 8:43 PM |
    As it is ! | July 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM |
    .. Boyce came in on a swing and will leave on a swing.
    Then again it could be a Roundabout that he is going out on.
    (What you gain on the swings, you loose on the Roundabout)

  21. Colonel Buggy …. lol… are mekking sport at a serious matter.

  22. Really and truly! what is the use and function of the Transport Authority ? Seems to me that they can hold hand with Malcolm Taitt and his Consumer organisation,as well as the Fair Trade Commission. They all understand the meaning, “Money for Old Rope”, taxpayers money.

  23. Please help this country, we need help more than ever …. | July 26, 2012 at 8:43 AM |
    Colonel Buggy …. lol… are mekking sport at a serious matter.
    I did not start it. Ministers of Transport have been doing that with the TranSPORT Board for the last 55 years.

  24. @Buggy

    What do you expect? Isn’t the head of the Transport Authority one Mr King who is head of the Ch Ch Constituency Council?

  25. @Buggy

    What do you expect? Isn’t the head of the Transport Authority one Mr King who is head of the Ch Ch South Constituency Council?

  26. General info: Mr. King is head of the Christ Church South constituency branch..
    The Transport Authority is also as dead and ineffective as the MTW and the Transport Board…common factor; John Boyce giving new meaning to non leadership.

    Lord hear our prays…..

  27. Today we read that the Government has struck a secret deal with Proper Pork Bynoe,of Carlton & A1, giving him ownership and control of the Metal Dump at Bagatelle ,as compensation for the Government’s bold face squatting on Mr Bynoe’s lands at River Bay St Lucy.
    Perhaps the Government could now kill two birds with one stone,by handing another lot of old iron and dead wood, the Transport Board Buses and operation , to Al Barrack as settlement for the $60 +Million owing to him.

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