Days after the temporary relocation of the Route 42 Bus Park to Bugle Street, minibus operators are calling for the presence of the police force at the park as a number buses are operating on the “hot plate” as they load passengers.
On Friday afternoon operators of the ‘Diamond-Inside/Short-to-Grove’ route complained bitterly of not being able to make the normal number of trips which they are accustomed to doing, while pointing out that passengers are refusing to go to the new location to catch a bus.
“The passengers are using the buses on the hot plate… the bus goes around that area and it is easier for them so they go… They don’t want to walk and come till to this park,” a conductress complained on Friday afternoon, when Stabroek News visited the Bugle Street location after 5:00pm.
According to the woman, who asked not to be named, on Thursday, drivers had to visit the Brickdam Police Station on quite a few occasions to request the presence of traffic ranks at the park.
“The police come and they went around here and there was some order, but as soon as they left everything gone back to how it was…” she recalled.
One driver lamented that the length of time the drivers now have to spend in the line is longer than usual and estimated that, “… when we would have spent a 20 minutes in line then, now we are spending over an hour and a half… this new system is not working out…”
The operators noted that they have not been able to make the customary five trips per day since the new arrangement has been put in place.
“We can’t make the trips we want to make…we are here in this line making one, or one and a half trips, it is very frustrating for us to operate like this,” added the conductress.
During the visit, minibus operators in the line were observed to be moving very slowly or not at all. In some instances, traffic jams occurred, as other bus drivers tried to wedge themselves at the front of the line.
“You see this situation here… it never happened before… buses don’t be on the park at this time. Passengers used to have to wait for bus to come. Since we move here buses are lined up here in the afternoon… the passengers have loads and they prefer to jump in a bus closer to them,” the conductress commented. In the same breath, the woman believes that if the police patrol and prevent the buses operating on the “hot plate” passengers would be forced to walk to the park.
As a result of the dire need to move the vendors from under the collapsed roof, Town Clerk Royston King said they had to make the decision to relocate them to an area where the Route 42 Bus Park was located, which resulted in the minibuses and short drop cars being displaced.
The Route 42 Bus Park was then shifted to Lombard Street but the drivers staged a strike on Monday to protest the move. They subsequently met with the Council and reportedly settled on Bugle Street as a temporary location.
Bugle Street, which is south of Cornhill Street, and runs from Water Street to Lombard Street, has been resurfaced and demarcated with yellow lines and the other necessary traffic signs.
The majority of drivers and operators had indicated their willingness to work along with the temporary arrangements but only if the City keeps up their end of the deal of maintaining the area and preventing other drivers from using the “hot plate” to load.
“The City isn’t keeping up their end of the bargain, we are still in this line and the other buses out there working… we need police presence here,” another driver commented.
During an impromptu meeting with the drivers on Wednesday, King said they would be working to find a more permanent solution for the drivers and operators within another three to four weeks and if not, they will hold another meeting to inform them of the next course of action.