Ministry Code of Conduct for minibus operators set

-uniforms required, ‘offensive’ music a no-no

The Ministry of Business, in moving to implement a Code of Conduct for minibus operators in the weeks ahead, has released an infomercial outlining the operating guidelines.

The Ministry, in an information video posted on its Facebook page on Friday, highlighted several guidelines that minibus operators and other associated personnel must abide by, before noting that the full document will be published on its website at a later date.

Among those mentioned in the Ministry’s public service announcement were the prohibition of loud and offensive music, proper display of fare structure in the minibus, prohibition of offensive language, and consideration for vulnerable groups, including the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Additionally, it was noted that operators and associated personnel are expected to wear uniforms, along with an identification badge or card.

However, President of the United Minibus Union (UMU), Eon Andrews, explained that the parties involved have not yet formally signed any documents, as they are still in the process of “fine- tuning,” particularly as it relates to enforcement.

 Notwithstanding, he is hopeful that the process will be completed within a short period of time, which will allow for the implementation and adoption of the guidelines.

The Sunday Stabroek understands that the Code of Conduct is mandatory for all minibus operators and other personnel to comply by law, as such, it is compulsory that operators become au fait with the Code of Conduct through the United Minibus Union.

Further, persons using public transportation are advised to report any violation of the code to the police.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the proposed implementation was met with mixed reactions from those who took time to view the Ministry’s infomercial.

Dominique Etwaroo, a Facebook user said, “Finally something good, but people need to help the GPF by reporting those unruly drivers and conductors.”

Grace Babb, another user said, “I agree with this 100%, at one time the bus operators empty the already full bus because a passenger refuse to encourage overload (refuse to drive the bus) mid-morning hours… it’s about time they get strict with them and the fines be severe.”

However, others made known their lack of confidence in the Guyana Police Force as enforcers of the code of conduct.

“I applaud this code of conduct. However, I have been the object of verbal abuse because I have objected to loud music and overload. I went to make a report at the Brickdam Station to no avail, I hope to see this truly enforced; using public transportation is not a nice experience,” Phoenix Shamecca commented.

“Now that is a great start!!!! Might not be the best, but definitely on its way for controlling the uncontrollable in the past! My recommendation since I criticized is to make sure the recommendations that were made in that commercial are enforced!!!!” another user, Christopher C. Gill said.

Last October, the UMU agreed to propose to its members, the adoption of a draft Code of Conduct for minibus operators countrywide.

According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Business, a number of grievances were highlighted during a meeting between the union and the ministry by Muriel Tinnis, Director of the Consumer Affairs Department within the ministry.

 She explained that there continues to be complaints about speeding, touting and overloading of buses. She added, according to the release, that one of the major complaints received, was that of overcharging, particularly within routes. There were also complaints that operators for certain routes charge passengers a higher fare at nights.

In reply, Andrews said many of the concerns voiced by consumers are justified. The release said that he was optimistic that the Code of Conduct would address the issue of touting and overloading.

The release added that the Code of Conduct encompasses issues such as customer service, health and safety, licensing and compliance and the general operation of buses. The union was set to discuss the draft of the Code of Conduct presented by the Ministry with its membership and sign on once there is consensus.

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