The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) ramped up repairs of buses after being notified over a week ago by the maxi-taxi association of their planned protest, PTSC chairman Devant Maharaj said during a press conference at the Ministry of Works and Transport, London Street, Port-of-Spain yesterday.
“On a normal day, there are approximately 15 to 20 buses on the PBR from Arima to Port-of- Spain. We shall have over 100 buses on the PBR that promises to serve 30,000 people. It will start from Arima from 5 am, and we will have a heavy bus turnout from 4 pm. We shall also be engaging bus marshals to drive on the buses to ensure passenger security. We shall also be ramping up terminal security in Port-of-Spain to ensure safety for all commuters,” he said.
Maharaj added PTSC also held discussions with the Ministry of National Security so there will be police presence in particular hot spots along the PBR.
He assured that other areas in the country will not be affected as they took buses from routes that usually have “low rider-ship” (passengers).
PTSC has also met with the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) to discuss the selling of bus tickets so commuters can get tickets at their outlets. He also assured the measure was not costing PTSC anything as it is just the reallocation of existing resources.
In addition to the buses, the PBR will be opened from 4 am to midnight for vehicles with no less than three persons including the driver, Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner said at the press conference.
Warner said after speaking with National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy and Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs, he got approval to waive the current restrictions on the PBR to supplement what would be done by PTSC. The current restrictions are that the PBR is open to the public between the hours of 4 am to 6 am and 8.30 am to 2.30 pm.
Warner said it was sad the maxi-taxi drivers sought to stay off the job and inconvenience the travelling public because they have not met with him.
“I am the most accessible person, I have met with the maxi taxi association on four occasions. At the last one, we spoke at length about the PH driver issue, we didn’t agree with their submission and we said that to them,” he said.
Warner said in checking the ministry’s records for the past eight years, he found the association never met with former Works and Transport Minister, Colm Imbert.
“Everybody seems to be in a protest mode, eight years they didn’t protest but they protest in six months. Let them try it out and see how they have failed, and they will never do it again,” he said. Warner revealed he was supposed to travel to Qatar today but cancelled as he felt it was important to monitor the situation tomorrow.
President of the National Infrastructure Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Carson Charles also said the water taxis would also operate on more shifts. “We expect because of the requirement to increase the number of buses on the PBR, we will help PTSC with the south and north journey. There will be an opportunity to use the water taxi from San Fernando to Port-of- Spain, from 5.30 am to 9.30 pm,” he said.