Bus order en route
Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley says he is preparing a proposal to take to Cabinet to deal with an urgent need for more buses to improve the effectiveness of the Transport Board.
He was speaking to the media after he toured L&N Workshop Inc., a manufacturer of bus and truck bodies in Cane Garden, St Thomas, yesterday.
Lashley said there were 200 buses on the roads while many were being repaired. As a result, the Transport Board faced challenges in satisfying commuters, who have been complaining of long delays.
The minister said that the board was not sitting down and playing dead and would definitely seek Cabinet approval to buy or lease new buses locally and internationally.
“It is now a must that we have to purchase buses to add to the fleet that is senior at this time,” he said. “We don’t want to come below 200 buses. We have kept between 200 and 223 buses on the road from 2008.
“A bus sometimes comes back in three times, [but] does it make sense repairing a bus over and over when you can purchase a new bus and cut maintenance costs and save all around?”
Lashley said he was impressed with the quality of buses produced at L&N and said there was room for the board to enter into negotiations with the company and others that might produce buses.
He said purchasing buses locally would allow the country to save foreign exchange and provide employment for Barbadians.
However, he said international suppliers from which Barbados purchased buses in the past would not be placed on the back-burner.
“If Transport Board enters into an arrangement with L&N Workshop, it means that [it] has to produce at least 20 buses or so and that means that more Barbadians would get work.
“That is an advantage, particularly in a situation where we need to stimulate activity in the economy and to provide opportunities of employment outside of the state,” the minister said. (AH)