Benefits to PSV project
AN ARTICLE in the WEEKEND NATION of November 6, 2015, Page 7, attributed to a public service vehicle (PSV) operator Mr Roger Hercules, issues a ‘warning’ to other operators who agree to work with a pilot project conducted by the Transport Authority to implement an integrated public transport system.
In the article, Mr Hercules raised three main matters: operational issues – cost of insurance premiums and other expenses and its crippling impact, their operating nature – schedule services are too slow, unwritten schedules; policy issues – concessionary fares and that the TASI [Transport Authority Service Integration] was a major backward step; and legal issues – the rights of the PSV owners and the integration was not legal.
Mr Hercules claimed that “they want to govern them and restrict the process to accommodate an omnibus service which has made itself obsolete in terms of mass movement of people”.
He was quoted as saying: “Be extremely careful what you sign with these people . . . . It is not just a project; it is movement away from one act to another, it is the movement away from the rights you had under one act to limited rights under another act.”
What is apparent from my perspective is an attempt by the Transport Authority to change the public transport operating model from the traditional and informal model to public-private partnership model which has the potential to provide better service and access to all operators from a customer perspective, and the likely benefit from transfer services. It also has potential benefits listed below for owners as well.
If the PSVs want to participate in the concessionary fare system, there must be an accounting of the concessionary passengers so that the responsible agency can “audit” the ridership and subsequently verify the periodic invoice.
I would like to offer a different perspective to the integration process which was conceptualised by the author in 2003 and submitted in 2013. What is being articulated is a proposal for a change of operations that suggests how improved public transport could be operated and respected in Barbados. The benefits likely to accrue from such a system are as follows:
a) The public will have a better service because timetables will be published for implementation by all operators;
b) The PSV staff will know their duties as determined by the bus schedules assigned to the respective operators;
c) Speeding should be reduced;
d) Fewer accidents are likely to occur;
e) Operating costs are likely to be reduced;
f) The sector would be respected;
g) It is likely that more persons will travel on public transport;
h) Less enforcement activities by the police, whose resources can be redeployed to other areas;
i) The successful operation of this or a similar system will create public confidence and car owners will be encouraged to utilise the public transport to reduce their vehicle operation cost;
j) This leads to a possible reduction in traffic congestion and emissions possibly leading to improved public health;
k) A more efficient use of road space; and
l) Eventually, lower motor insurance costs for owners.
Therefore, this project is not to be viewed as a movement to take away the rights of operators, but if properly implemented, it can benefit the customers which you serve, the operators who serve them and the environment in which we live.
It is important that order is brought to our system, which is very important to the economy as it is like blood running through veins. If the opportunity is provided, order can be brought to the system through this initiative without heavy-handed measures. This initiative can be viewed as a catalyst to the development of a comprehensive public policy for Barbados.
The policy can include the following initiatives: the institution of fuel rebates for ‘good’ behaviour and following the rules; a participation in the concessionary fares system by all operators, and the institution of driver hours regulations to promote safety and widen the job pool.
– DESMOND SABIR