Provisions for access to speedboats at stellings are inadequate

Dear Editor,

20150221lettersNumerous letters and articles have been written about the various kinds of public transportation available in Guyana, and they mostly are concerned with the conditions, attitudes of the operators, overcharging, etc. Sadly, however, these cries seem to be falling on deaf ears because those responsible do not seem to understand what commuters are facing.

A few days ago, at the Parika Stelling, I noticed the women having a difficult time boarding and disembarking from the speedboats, especially those working the Leguan, Essequibo, Bartica routes, etc. Some women, especially the older ones would have to go on their knees and then hold onto boards/rails or someone’s hands and let themselves down or pull themselves up. On Thursday, February 19, 2015, I was waiting to board one of the speedboats at the Georgetown Stelling and observed the high tides causing the boats to ride extremely high above the stelling floor; thus it was difficult for the women to board the boats (see photo attached).

Editor, after over fifteen years of providing a service to commuters, I would have expected that passengers would have been able to board or disembark from a speedboat comfortably, but regrettably, that is not so. I have seen people sometimes stumble and slip, or fall overboard because of the conditions with the speedboats, and no remedy.

What is sickening is that many women, especially the working ones, wear skirts and it can be embarrassing for them. At the Georgetown Stelling there’s one makeshift step that is used when the water is low and can only be used by one boat at a time. Sometimes two or more boats would have to wait whilst one is discharging, and if one starts to load, they will have to still wait. At Vreed-en-Hoop, none seems to exist, although both places have different spots for boats to load and offload. Every time there is a high tide or low tide, commuters face difficulties, and not only when there are extremely high tides such as those we are presently experiencing. So why can’t the operators provide a comfortable and safe environment for commuters?

Speedboat associations only seem to surface when there’s a call for an increase in fares!

 Yours faithfully,

Sahadeo Bates

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