PSV safety check
This was a shakedown.
So charged public service vehicle (PSV) operators in the Constitution River Terminal.
They were contesting the reason many of them were pulled off the road yesterday morning.
From around 7:45 a.m., Transport Inspectors swooped down, making checks to ensure that the drivers were in compliance with road traffic regulations.
“Over the years, a lot of these guys have not been in compliance,” said Eugene Brewster, Transport Inspector with the Barbados Licensing Authority.
“Up to this year, January, I was here and I sent roughly about 20 to 25 vehicles off the road and other inspectors have sent some as well with respect to the various infractions that they continue to commit.”
Outside the terminal, many of the operators were vocal about what they described as an injustice. Many of them had been sitting on the wall outside the terminal with their vehicles parked.
One driver, who would only give his name as J, said the PSVs were being picked on, not because they failed to comply with the road traffic regulations, but because of their badges.
However, Brewster described the operation as part of the Barbados Licensing Authority’s regular work of ensuring that PSVs were in compliance with the Road Traffic Act.
“The vehicles are [painted in] all sorts of pretty colours. The tyres on the vehicles aren’t the correct ones for a passenger-carrying vehicle. They don’t have [the fire] extinguishers in the vehicles, they don’t have conductors on the vehicle which is required by law,” Brewster said.
He explained that it was illegal for a PSV driver to collect fares since the law only made provision for drivers with the state-owned Barbados Transport Board to do so.
“A lot of these guys you will hear them ranting and raving but we have been telling them this for a number of years . . . . These guys fail to comply with the [Act] . . . a lot of them don’t have badges. . . [They] don’t wear the shoes according to the regulations and they have a handbook that states what they [are] supposed to do in relation to themselves and their vehicles.
“A lot of them have air horns on the vehicle and they are not supposed to. A lot of the vehicles’ suspension systems are in poor condition. You send a van off the road for general inspection and you find that you have 20 to 30 things wrong with the vehicle. It is really sad that you are carrying passengers and the vehicles are not in good condition and [they] know this. We constantly tell them about it,” Brewster said.
When contacted last night, Morris Lee, interim chairman of the Association of Public Transport Operators said: “I am not in agreement with an officer approaching a PSV operator who drives and conducts. He is being asked to go to the Licensing Authority in the Pine to pay for a conductor’s licence because he doesn’t have a conductor on the bus.
“That is stupidity of the highest. At the back of the licence you can see clearly that when he goes and pays his $80 just like the Transport Board driver, at the back of the plastic licence being issued it has driver/conductor on the back.
“I question the timing of today’s action. . . . The new Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance [Dr William Duguid] does not deserve to step into an environment that has been created by unfortunate behaviour as far as I am concerned.” Lee said. (ROG)