Also, at least one airline cancelled flights due to depart Trinidad after the curfew began.
As a result of the limited state of emergency, the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) has added more buses to the normal routes in order to ensure that commuters get home on time.
“We can assure you that no one will be stranded. We have enough buses to serve the commuting public,” Transport Minister Devant Maharaj said after a brief visit to City Gate at about 3.45 pm.
Buses were scheduled to leave every ten minutes to all routes between Port-of-Spain, Sangre Grande, Chaguanas and San Fernando.
Port-of-Spain, Chaguanas and San Fernando were listed among the five crime hot spots under 9 pm to 5 am curfew.
Maharaj said the PTSC had increased bus services between the hours of 6 pm and 8 pm along high traffic destinations such as the East/West Corridor, Chaguanas and San Fernando.
Asked how long this will continue, Maharaj added that they “will be monitoring the situation until the end of the week and will be adding buses as the demand requires”.
Stating that this new arrangement will also change when school reopens on September 5, Maharaj said they were also looking into providing transportation for tertiary level students whose classes finish at 8.30 pm.
Maharaj said these efforts formed part of the attempt “to ensure that citizens reach home safely and do not breach the curfew hours of 9 pm to 5 am”.
Assuring the public that all efforts were being made to “ensure their lives are disrupted as little as possible”, Maharaj said the cost to increase the number of buses along the routes was minimal as commuters must still purchase a ticket to secure a space on the bus.
The minister said, “commuters should not worry about getting home on time as the necessary infrastructure has been put in place for public transport and is being provided in a safe and secure environment.”
Hopeful that these measures will complement other existing forms of transport, Maharaj said PTSC drivers will not be working off-route, but along the normal routes operated by the PTSC.
Maharaj said PTSC will be writing to the relevant authorities to secure passes for their drivers, mechanics and other personnel who will be required to work beyond 9 pm and who may be living in designated hot spots which were under curfew.
The minister said in light of an increase in the number of persons coming to PTSC requesting permits so they can operate outside curfew hours, Maharaj advised persons that only the Ministry of National Security and the Commissioner of Police will be issuing these special permits.
Maxi taxi stands at City Gate were fulled to capacity as commuters lined up for transport from Arima to La Horquetta.
Although lines were orderly, there was a sense of anxiety at City Gate.
At Piarco International Airport, several airlines cancelled flights which were due to depart Trinidad after 9 pm.
American Airlines cancelled two flights due to the curfew.
The flights impacted are: Flight 1819 from Miami to Port-of-Spain which was scheduled to arrive at Piarco International Airport at 11.05 pm yesterday and flight 1818 scheduled to depart from Port-of-Spain at 6.50 am today.
In a release, AA said it was monitoring the situation to “make operational determinations as necessary” and regretted inconvenience to its customers. The airline said the safety of its passengers nd employees was its number one priority.