We need to start demanding better service from the minibuses

Dear Editor,

The minibus situation is out of control and drastic action has to be taken by the citizens of this country who can’t afford a car because this government has shown that this issue is on their backburner and obviously they have no interest at all in providing proper public transportation. First of all, the authorities in charge should restrict minibuses to the outskirts of Georgetown and any bus going more than 40 miles an hour should be hauled off the roadway, and that includes anywhere in Guyana. Second, undercover policemen from a special task force should be in plain clothes and board minibuses to observe and charge any drivers who abuse and misuse the system in place for the safety and comfort of all passengers. Thirdly, elections are coming and this government has to be compelled to provide some public transportation, especially for our children going to and from school in particular; it’s about time that public buses be provided for the citizenry of this country because minibuses are becoming a threat to regular folks.                   Editor, how long are we, the citizens of this country, going to put up with this carnage by these minibuses whose drivers are generally out of control in their attitudes to other drivers and aggressive and abusive to the passengers? How long are we going to tolerate their dangerous driving, overcrowded buses, the playing of loud music and touting for passengers in very agressive ways?

How long do we, the citizens, have to bear the great cost of taking care of the injured in our hospitals due to minibus carnage on our roads, not to mention the rehabilitation for the seriously disabled? How long before we get justice in the courts against these minibus offenders?

Editor, for passengers going to the West Coast in the early evening hours, minibuses are charging the full fare ($400) to Parika, even though the passenger might be going to Leonora which should be a lower fare. On top of that, minibuses are putting people off the bus if they do not have the full fare to Parika, leaving passengers stranded at Stabroek Market.

On many minibuses, the conductor who collects money, crouches or stands up to make space for one more passenger and increases the danger and discomfort to the citizens. Many times when citizens object to the callous behaviour of minibus drivers, they are thrown off the bus at the next stop. Many minibuses have treadworn tyres and are not properly serviced, and these factors combined with high speed and reckless driving present real danger to our citizens. I have personally witnessed minibus cell-phone contact about a roadblock by police on the West Coast recently; a minibus at the roadblock called the minibus in which I was travelling (which was overloaded) to warn our driver who then proceeded to unload citizens before reaching the checkpoint.

Editor, the bottom line in the minibus situation is that the dire lack of public transportation in this country is causing the havoc on our roadways by these minibus drivers who have proven that in general, they lack the compassion and sense of responsibility which our citizens deserve.

However, we, the citizens , need to realize that this government has absolutely no intention of providing safe public transportation and therefore, we need to start speaking out and demanding better service and courtesy by these people who drive minibuses and think that the roadways belong to them alone.

Yours faithfully,
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr)

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