A ROAD TO NOWHERE: Stakeholders lament the stagnation of Nassau’s public transportation system

A ROAD TO NOWHERE: Stakeholders lament the stagnation of Nassau’s public transportation system

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A 46-year-old woman yesterday voiced her concern about the bus industry stating that the government’s inability to correct the system negatively impacts passengers and drivers.

The passenger told Eyewitness News that she feels responsible for bus drivers breaking the law when she catches the bus.

“People always say bus stopping here there and all over the place… they don’t understand that the customers say bus stop here, knowing that’s not the place for the bus to stop. They (bus drivers) could get booked for that and charged for that, which I don’t think is fair.

“Where he dropped me off isn’t the bus stop. It’s further back, but for me, I think I’m doing him a disservice. It’s a wrong thing I picked up which is a bad habit. So, it’s a good service and a bad service,” the passenger claimed.

Previously, Eyewitness News scoped the Cable Beach strip, where bus stops were placed within 100-meter proximity from one another compared to the inner city that lost many of its old bus stations.

During the bus route that runs through parts of Downtown, Balfour Avenue, and East Street, she recalled the significant changes in the bus system as many bus stops she used as a little girl no longer existed. Ultimately, she revealed that because of the lack of bus stops, passengers in the inner city have created their own stops.

“The bus stop is not positioned to serve the people and because of that it causes a lot of problems,” she exclaimed.

The passenger stated that if the bus system were removed, many like herself would have to endure far journeys by foot. Additionally, she pleaded with those driving private vehicles to be patient when buses are offloading.

“No matter how high or low you are, everyone eventually uses the bus system,” she inserted.

Due to a personal incident, the passenger says that buses have become her primary source of transportation ever since a personal incident years ago. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, an abrupt halt of the bus system was ordered – leaving her with no choice but to walk home from work at 4 am. Each morning, she remembered being afraid as to what might have happened to her while on her journey.

Bus Association president Rudolph Taylor described the delay in the bus system as a setback for the country.

“Proper road stops show we have a proper society, it shows that we’re organized.”

Remnants of an abandoned rest stop for drivers at the site of the old general post office.

“It affects the drivers who are ticketed for stopping for places that aren’t bus stop designed and then it affects the public at large because the public don’t know where to stand to catch the bus,” Taylor declared.

The president stated that he met the saga of the traffic issue when he gained the position and aims to rectify the issues during his tenure.

He told Eyewitness News that the last recommendations given to the government from the association were in November of 2022, however, they have been unsuccessful in having their suggestions enacted.

In the document, the association pushed for an increase in wages, adequate bus stops throughout the inner city, rest stops, and restroom stops for drivers.

He expressed that while bus drivers may have a valid business license, the government refuses to observe the industry seriously.

For nearly 15 years, the driver stated that the government has yet to increase the bus fees which has become a burden on members of the industry.

Taylor said: “If you could live off of your salary from 15 years ago when you think about inflation and cost of living it’s a bigger struggle for drivers now than ever. So, they either have to subsidize driving jobs in order to pay their bills like they should or want to.”

“So, that has caused what we call aggressive driving where persons drive a little more aggressive as needed.”

Over the years, Taylor expressed that the public’s perception of the bus industry has been construed and said that the hate is unwarranted.

“When last have you heard of an incident with a bus driver accused of bothering somebody’s child? Most of the persons that says disparaging remarks against bus drivers are persons who don’t even utilize the bus system.”

“You think if this was a flawed or failed system, she (the passenger) would’ve still been using the bus system? No! She would’ve said no it ain’t worth it. Because persons who utilize the bus system recognize that it’s a vital service that drivers provide from early morning hours to the late evening hours.”