No to privatizing public transport

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 07 November 2012

maxinemcclean

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Maxine McClean, has given the thumbs down to privatization of public transport. In her lead off presentation in the upper chamber of Parliament today, McClean said a combination of public and private sector control could work enhanced by better regulation. McClean was speaking on a resolution to approve the guarantee of a loan of $10.9 million from Republic Bank Ltd (formerly Barbados National Bank) to the Transport Board.“I don’t believe in the handing over of public transporation, wholesale, to private concessionaires,” she said.McClean said it was too simplistic to argue that because the private concessionaires were makiing money, therefore it stood to reason the Transport Board should also make profits. “Private concessionaires operate on very specific routes and many of them do not recognise that they have the obligation to service the routes that they have fully.“In other words, a Transport Board bus leaving Bridgetown  and heaing to Josey Hill will go there whether they are passengers on board or not. The driver cannot decide he is going to turnaround and not go to St Lucy anymore.” McClean said there has to be a rationalisation of public transport and working with private concessionaires “in a way to ensure that we set full standards.”She added: “We have to do that in a way that will allow us to give Barbadians essentially a choice, but at the same time, we also have to impress on persons involved, the issue of service quality.”McClean said that too often, critical areas such as productivity and performance, were being glossed over. “We have to focus on those things. We have heard a lot of talk about employment and I will reiterate this administration’s commitment to public employees, that commitment being to keep people employed.

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