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Changes to bus service during curfew


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Changes to bus service during curfew
Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport, Roy Raphael. (FILE)

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Some routes serviced by Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) will be affected by the current 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and members of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) will be meeting via Zoom at 6 p.m. today to discuss the next steps.

The Transport Board also announced its last service from Bridgetown would depart at 8 p.m.

On Friday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley increased the length of the curfew by three hours, starting January 2 for the next seven days. During that time, there are to be no banquets, fetes or limes.

AOPT chairman Roy Raphael said their operators, who span the PSV, taxi and minibus sectors, as well as car hire, share the same concerns as the general public.

Raphael said he expected the first service to be on the road between 5:30 and 6 a.m., and the last trip will leave the Bridgetown terminals at 8 p.m., but will not be returning to The City. Some routes are not serviced after 6 p.m. and he advised commuters in those areas to make alternative arrangements.

He called for the cooperation of the public in wearing masks on the PSVs and following the protocols put in place by the Government of Barbados.

The chairman said they would also encourage operators to purchase hand sanitisers and temperature guns as well as disposable masks to distribute to members of the public who may not have them when attempting to board the buses. Raphael said COVID-19 was a very serious issue and they had to protect operators and their families, so they would be working closely with the COVID Monitoring Unit, including calling for additional training.

“Some operators are trained and they have stickers to indicate that they can be used to transport persons who are exhibiting symptoms. There are close to 1 300 operators out there who were not trained, closed to 300 were trained,” he said, adding that was done by the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.

Raphael said Government should make the training compulsory because they received complaints from operators that some people were refusing to wear masks or have their hands sanitised. He said earlier in the year there was an issue with the operators and taxi drivers being stopped by police and in an attempt to avoid this, they should be trained and a sticker placed on the vehicles. (SAT)