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AWRIGHT DEN!: Chaos at Princess Alice

COREY WORRELL, [email protected]

AWRIGHT DEN!: Chaos at Princess Alice

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EACH TIME I ENTER the Princess Alice Bus Terminal, it upsets me. I am pleased and grateful that as a citizen there is a generally good bus service, but, I cannot ignore the inadequacies.

• I don’t know if the architect and the design team of the terminal were trying to be creative in their design, but the design and layout of the bus terminal is a total disaster.

The terminal provides little shelter from the elements for the public. Imagine all it takes is for the rain to drizzle for the public to get wet. It is really ridiculous to see the rain drizzling and people waiting on the bus taking out umbrellas to prevent the rain from wetting them and pushing and squeezing to get to the centre of the waiting area so they can minimise how much they get wet. I have never been in the bus terminal during a heavy downpour and honestly, I would hate to be; it has to be total chaos.

Just from observation, the roof is too high and the V-shape of the roof reduces the function of the roof to provide shade and shelter.

• Once again, the seating in this terminal, as at Fairchild Street, is inadequate. Actually, I think it is worse than Fairchild Street and here is why. Fairchild Street terminal has 16 benches to serve 16 routes. Princess Alice on the other hand has ten benches to serve 27 routes. Since a bench can only hold four comfortably, the majority of people waiting for a bus have to stand and this should not be. Oh by the way, those sitting on the benches also get wet when the rain starts to drizzle. It’s just ridiculous.

• I have observed that some citizens travelling on certain routes, especially the Rock Hall, Shorey Village and St Andrew’s Church route have serious problems with order and queuing.

There are people who arrive at the gate early and stand in line to wait for the bus; sometimes they wait 30 minutes so as to get a seat. Just before boarding time at the top of the hour, people start to gather at the top of the line, totally ignoring those who have been queuing. When the bus arrives, the line doesn’t really get longer but the crowding at the bus door does.

As soon as the driver allows for boarding, the pushing, shoving, cussing, elbows flying and sometimes fighting begin. I would invite the media to go to the terminal especially around 5 p.m. to see it; it is ridiculous.

What is even more embarrassing is that it is generally adults and adult women who are the main culprits. I have seen old people pushed aside and even women with young children and even babies pushed.

A Sunday afternoon I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer and had to speak out about the behaviour. A bus holds about 40 sitting and most times there are fewer than 30 people waiting at the gate, which means that everyone will get a seat.

This should not have to be done, but I believe the only way to fix this problem is to install L-shaped metal barriers that would force people to line up, allowing those who waitin line their right to board first.  We Barbadians behave this way, yet we go to England, US and Canada and wait patiently in line to board buses.

• Unlike the Fairchild Street Terminal, I was unable to find any bathroom facility for the public. I did see a wall structure to the southern side of the terminal but on the wall it stated it was for staff only. Teenagers and adults may be able to wait until they get home to use a toilet but children and the elderly may not be able to.

• Buses parking along the “driveway” is a common practice, which shouldn’t be. I see it as a hazard especially for those crossing the road behind or in front of the buses. There is need for a designated parking area for buses.

There are more concerns I can highlight but space is against me. The entire terminal needs to be overhauled and remodelled. The public deserves better and we have the expertise and finances to give them better. What is needed now is the willpower and a caring heart.

• Corey Worrell, a former Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, is director of C2J Foundation Inc., a project-based NGO focusing on social development. Email: [email protected]

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