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The public of Barbados need a better transport system to be implemented because the present scenario by private businesses, such as the route taxi and minibuses, leaves a lot to be desired.
(i) The route taxi operators do not behave [properly].
• They consume copious amounts of alcoholic-based “energy” beverages.
• They litter the route which they ply with the glass or plastic empty bottles which are thrown from the vehicle on to the side of the road, and also on to the sidewalk.
• [Some] indulge in the smoking of marijuana and other illegal cigarettes.
• They do not dress appropriately for the job. Many of them have their rear ends exposed to their passengers and some of the underwear shows signs of multiple use.
• They solicit and call out to persons whether they are going in the same direction or not of the vehicle, by constantly blowing the very loud horns which are installed in the vehicles that disturb persons who reside more than 500 yards from the road. The noisy horns prevent babies from sleeping, senior citizens from having any peace and quiet in their homes, and are quite a nuisance to everyone within earshot.
• They play a lot of loud, suggestive “noise” which makes it difficult to hear the vehicle’s engine or the sound of the bell to indicate where you would like to get off.
• They abuse the passengers if you voice your concern for their manner of operation, and even suggest that you get your own mode of transportation.
• Some overcharge the tourists by telling them that the legal fare is US$2 instead of BDS$2.
• They drive the vehicles as though they are on a race course or demon-possessed, that even when you are sitting, it is difficult to sit properly as you are tossed from side to side or even pitched out of your seat.
(ii) The relevant authorities must carefully weigh the options that are placed under their ambit so a worst-case scenario is not created that can be detrimental to the travelling public.
(iii) The relevant authorities should not grant the minibus or route taxi operators an increase of bus fares because:
1. Many of the passengers have not had a raise in their basic pay since 2007.
2. The operators are paid every day, while their passengers are paid either twice or once per month.
3. Now is not the time to increase bus fares; it is too hard on the public who are suffering.
Privatising the bus transportation system would not make it better, as the minibus and route taxis show they will not conform to any regulations required.
The Transport Board should be given new vehicles and a regular schedule in order to transport the public in safety and quiet, as well as cater to the pensioners who now have to depend on the private transport and must pay the fare or walk to their desired destination.
It is grossly unfair for Barbadians to be subjected to this low-life behaviour.
– SHIRLEY JACKSON