As the quality of the urban public transport service comes increasingly under the glare of the public spotlight the Stabroek Business, two weeks ago, spent two consecutive weekdays canvassing the opinions of regular users on the quality of the service being provided.
The responses which we secured to the issues that we raised represent a summation of the across-the-board opinions of the commuters with whom we spoke. These reflect both their general observations and their criticisms:
On private ownership of public transport:
On the whole our respondents were supportive of a privately-owned public transport system which they pointed was good for private enterprise and for job-creation. Respondents particularly made the point that privately-owned minibuses could provide both an employment option for persons who are not qualified for mainstream employment as well as for employed persons seeking to subsidize their incomes. However, they were virtually unanimous in the view that privately-owned vehicles that are part of the public transport pool should be subject to strict rules and regulations laid down by the state public transport authority. These rules, they say, should embrace areas such as (1) performance and cleanliness standards for buses; (2) Behavioural ‘qualifications’ for minibus crews; (3) Strict and enforceable protocols associated with safe and responsible road use; (4) A rigid system of half-yearly renewal of operating licences for drivers and conductors based on the quality of service over the previous year; (5) Temporary and permanent removal of operating permits based on the quality of service provided during the immediately preceding period…..