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TAP participants call for meeting with PM


TAP participants call for meeting with PM
Participants in the Transport Augmentation Programme withdrew their services this morning, June 28, 2021. (Picture by Shanice King)

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Participants in the Transport Augmentation Programme (TAP) today withdrew their services and asked for an audience with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

Members of the TAP Association and the United Transporters Cooperative Inc. gathered along the Mighty Grynner Highway this morning to speak about their concerns, which surround not being able to earn a “decent” living and what they perceive as the overall disregard from Government.

“TAP was created to ease transportation woes back in 2019. We bent over backwards for the Transport Board but now we are getting ignored. They praise the introduction of electric buses but those only joined the fleet late last year, long after we had saved transport in Barbados.

“We’ve been propping up the Transport Board since the beginning of the programme and now we are being given no respect. It seems they are getting what they want but no efforts are being made towards sustainability,” said association chairman Kristian Yearwood.

Deputy chairman Rodney Bellamy said they no longer wanted to meet with the Minister of Transport but instead wanted to go to the top.

“Two years ago the PM held a meeting with the transport sector as back then the Transport Board was not giving good service. She gave them firm instructions and took action and we need that again, we want someone who will listen to us and act. We need to speak to who is in charge, we need to speak to the PM again,” he said.

A major concern was the desire to either renegotiate or remove the 12.5 per cent participation fee which is taken from their gross earnings. The PSV operators said that after paying for diesel, maintenance, insurance, personnel, utilities and more, there was hardly anything left.

Member of the cooperative, Neville Griffith, made an impassioned plea. The cooperative is made up of members who took severance packages from the Transport Board in order to work in the TAP.

“Diesel has gone up 33 per cent and they continue to take an eighth of our earnings. A single trip is $60 but I cannot even get 100 passengers a day these days and I still have insurance and maintenance and thing to pay. All the severance I get from the Transport Board is gone, there’s nothing to take to the supermarket. It’s hurtful,” he said.

In January, TAP members also gathered along the Mighty Grynner Highway for a brief work stoppage. Then, the issue was the consistent late payment of concessionary funds. (CA)