The newly proposed unified bussing system engineered by Minister of Transport and Local Government Frankie Campbell, will soon be piloted as the government calculates if the project will be feasible to maintain for jitney drivers island-wide.
According to Harrison Moxey of the Public Transportation Representatives, the proposed plan they’ve worked out, while in partnership with the government, offers commuters proper signage of designated bus stops as well as on-site time schedules to see when their next bus will arrive.
The change can’t come fast enough for jitney drivers who say they’re in desperate need of new infrastructure for buses, if only fix to the bad reputation of reckless driving they’ve gotten over the years.
“Most of us are working for $180 or $200 a day and we have to give our owners that money back then also put fuel back in the bus and when I come outside to see a bus that is not in my bussing route on my stop, that causes me to break the law” said one driver who wished to remain anonymous.
“I have to press gas to go 60 miles per hour (MPH), just to get ahead of my competitor. The government doesn’t care.”
According to the Inter-American Developmental Bank (IDB), 280 buses serve public transportation users on 23 different routes – a complaint many bus drivers say leads to competitive driving, leaving other public motorists at risk.
Announced in the House of Assembly (HOA) last week, $500,000 is being financed by the IDB along with an additional $200,000 from the Ministry of Finance for the project.
Campbell also revealed that he will look into the suggestions made by bus drivers on implementing a new cashless system for bus drivers.
According to Bus Drivers Union President Fredrick Farrington, the new card system will help drivers in gaining accountability from establishments for National Insurance Board (NIB) purposes.
“The benefit of the card system is for those 85 per cent of bus drivers who are not under National Insurance,” explained Farrington.
“Automatically, once money can be seen in a database that an insurance company can rely on, you make it easier for that establishment to see how much you make. The same goes for banking.”
No date has been given on when the project will commence.