New sidewalks frustrating Carmichael Road bus drivers

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As the government moves to improve the safety of pedestrians in the Carmichael Road area with the construction of sidewalks, local bus drivers are up in arms, with some saying it is affecting their business as well as their vehicles.

“It is simply unfair for the government to continue to make these kinds of conditions for us to operate in and then penalize us when we do not operate in the broken system that they have created,” said Leyvon Miller, the owner of Legacy Caps Transportation.

“So we have situations like this one on Carmichael Road where they put these sidewalks and they’ve created these awkward situations where there is no space on the side of the road to pull over…”

Chairman of the Public Transportation Representatives, Harrison Moxey, said that a comprehensive assessment needs to be done with input from all stakeholders including bus drivers to address the issue.

“What we have now is the sidewalks are being put down with no consideration for…the buses. So, there are currently about three visible bus stops along the Carmichael Road strip, particularly to the eastern bound lane all the way to Baillou Hill Road.”

Moxey said they also have concerns about the positioning of the bus stops and the positioning of the sidewalks, which does not allow busses to pull off the street to let off passengers.

Two bus drivers of the Carmichael Road route also spoke to Eyewitness News Online, detailing that the conditions are not the best.

“They aren’t enough proper bus stops and there aren’t enough bus stops on the whole,” said local bus driver Marvin Smith.

“How could you put sidewalks on the side of the road and you don’t implement any bus stops for the bus drivers to pull on the side,” asked Dwayne Newbold, another jitney operator.

“It’s affecting the drivers. We are being burdened down with tickets because there’s no way to pull on the side of the road because of these sidewalks.”

Senior Engineer at Ministry of Works, Francis Clarke, on Tuesday, responded to these concerns, stating that the issue is a logistical challenge.

“It is not uncommon around the world for bus drivers to stop in the travel lane and pick up passengers. So, because we are restricted due to land space, we have to use bus lay-bys [an area at the side of a road where vehicles may pull off the road and stop] in various locations.”

Meanwhile, jitney operators said they just want the problem solved as roads such as Baha Mar Boulevard appropriately accommodates public transportation yet there are no buses that take that route.

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This article was written by Matthew Moxey – Eyewitness News Online Intern