EDITORIAL: Transport Authority standing firm
WE WELCOME the tough talk coming from the Transport Authority on its intentions to get public service vehicle (PSV) workers to wear the prescribed uniforms.
It gives us hope that finally an authorised entity seems serious about whipping this sector into shape as a way to bring some discipline back to our streets.
Transport Authority chairman Abdul Pandor has pledged to bell the PSV cat once and for all by, if necessary, hitting the workers and the owners where it hurts most – their pockets.
Specifically, that means fining workers $1 000 for not wearing the uniforms, and/or taking units off the road for a few days by suspending permits if workers don’t wear the uniforms.
Pandor acknowledged that though his organisation has no legal authority to enforce the wearing of uniforms, the Licensing Authority Act gives the Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Transport that right, once the requirements have been published – and that has been done.
“We intend to take a strict stance to making sure they adhere to wearing of the uniform. We have the process to take them to court . . . . We intend to be serious about this because we see this as a precursor to getting the whole system in order,” Pandor declared on Thursday.
He was speaking at a news conference where he expressed disappointment that some PSV workers were failing to wear the uniforms though they had been given an extension to the original March 1 deadline.
This is the type of defiance that elements in this sector are well known for, and it will be the authority’s biggest challenge.
In such situations, talk means nothing without decisive action to effectively deal with these difficult people. So if the authority, for whatever reason, does not take the appropriate action against those who fail to comply with these rules, it is unlikely to ever get the compliance it seeks.
We know Pandor knows this because on Thursday he recalled that last year after moral suasion was used to get the workers to wear uniforms, resulting in about 90 per cent compliance for the first few weeks, it then “dropped remarkably”.
The reason we support any lawful action the authority takes to get this sector in order is that for far too long operators have demonstrated a level of indiscipline and lack of respect for other road users despite several efforts to rein them in.
No wonder, then, that though PSVs make up only one per cent of the vehicle population on our roads, they are responsible for more than 50 per cent of the over 25 000 traffic offences committed annually.
Clearly, this wanton disregard for our traffic laws and other road users cannot be allowed to continue.
We therefore hope the authority sticks to its word and enforces compliance in uniforms. This would be the first step in dealing effectively with the sector.
We hope, too, that the drivers and conductors will accept the challenge to improve discipline among their ranks. For in the end, a disorderly Barbados will not be a fit place for any of us.