Frustrated bus drivers plying the 32 bus route are calling on authorities to give them some sort of assistance since they say they are being bullied by touts who operate on the bus park.
One frustrated minibus owner who spoke with Stabroek News said that the park is normally controlled by a warden and he is in charge of maintaining the line at the stelling. She stated that the warden is getting no assistance from the police station, and as such the touts are doing their own thing.
“I am very frustrated. Sometimes we sit in the lines for hours and them touts does deh saying who will go next and who can’t go,” she said. She added that there is no order at the stelling and this has led her to the belief that the police are somehow involved.
Bharrat Seecharan another bus driver said that they need some assistance since it is hard when the touts do their own thing. “We are tired and fed up with this whole system. Something needs to be done. The touts charging $1,500 to load a bus and they deciding which bus gon load and which bus gon come out the line,” he said.
For years customers traversing the route have been complaining about the discomfort caused by the touts. Many customers have complained that they have been roughed up and shouted on by the touts.
Telesha Jagan, a regular traveller, said it has gotten to the point where she doesn’t want to travel with the public transportation anymore. “As soon as you go to catch a bus they does run up to you and start pulling and tugging you to put you in the bus that they loading,” she related. She said she is saving to buy a car so that she wouldn’t have to go through the hassle everyday of dealing with the touts.
Jagan added that when passengers talk to the touts, they get “a fine cussing” from them. She said that she like other customers would like the touts to be removed for good since they are inconveniencing a lot of passengers. “It would be nice if all the touts come off the park and we get a chance to pick what bus we want to travel in,” she added.
She noted that many times overseas-based Guyanese comment on the situation and that this is looking very bad for tourism in Guyana. “A lot of times when my family comes back for holiday and we take these buses they comment on how the touts does be pulling and tugging at them. One of my cousins even said that she will not be returning to Guyana for holiday if the situation doesn’t change,” Jagan said.
The drivers and passengers are currently calling on the government and relevant authorities to intervene and fix the situation with the touts so that order can be restored.