Government needs to develop a public transport policy

Dear Editor,

Guyana’s public transport system is a matter of passionate concern for local people and visitors. Our economic prosperity depends increasingly on the efficient movement of people and goods over varying distances throughout the country. The travelling public spends quite a lot of their limited earnings on transportation and argues rightfully about its cost, safety and effects on our social and environmental conditions.  Changes in public transportation are rapid, expensive and becoming more demanding, and the government must give it more serious attention. In spite of past and present administrations spending billions of dollars, mainly on roads and bridges, the end result which is providing cheap, safe and efficient public transport services for the nation has not materialized. Thus, at this point in time, the contribution of transport towards the social and economic development of Guyana is negligible. Indeed, the country needs highways, bridges and modern airports, etc. But most importantly, it needs proper public transport services to move people and goods safely, comfortably, speedily and economically to our respective destinations.

Since road transport (minibuses) is now the principal means of public transport in the country,  it is essential that the government develop a suitable public transport policy as part of its national development plan. In this regard, a public transit authority must be created to oversee the integration, implementation, regulation and running of the nation’s public transport services, including the pliable, but sometimes dangerous minibus services.  Meanwhile, the government should encourage local and overseas investors to own and operate inter-regional bus services on routes such as Georgetown to Corentyne, Georgetown to Parika and Georgetown to Linden. Later on, feeder services can be added to these routes.

What is normally a secondary means of public transport, ie, minibuses et al, is now, by default, the principal means of public transport in the country. On one hand, the services provided by these minibuses do contribute to the social and economic growth of the country. But, on the other hand, it contributes largely to the rising death toll on our roads and also to the deplorable school boys/girls lawlessness.  The minibus services must be reviewed immediately, with strict regulatory and monitoring systems put in place and seriously monitored.

Yours faithfully,

Lennox O Britton

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