Trinidad to get 300 new buses for public transport

(Trinidad Guardian) Faced with a pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem al­most be­ing crip­pled last week by strik­ing PTSC bus dri­vers, Works Min­is­ter Ro­han Sinanan is now promis­ing that 300 new bus­es will be brought to T&T to en­hance the ex­ist­ing bus fleet.

The dri­vers from San Fer­nan­do and Point Fortin re­fused to dri­ve de­fec­tive bus­es say­ing some of them were not road­wor­thy even though they had in­spec­tion cer­tifi­cates.

Speak­ing to re­porters af­ter open­ing the Richard­son Street Ex­ten­sion Road near Clifton Hill Beach Re­sort in Point Fortin yes­ter­day, Sinanan ac­cused bus dri­vers of play­ing po­lit­i­cal games.

The Point Fortin dri­vers said there was no me­chan­ic as­signed to work be­tween 4 am to 1 pm at the En­gi­neer­ing De­part­ment so the bus­es could not be checked be­fore de­par­ture. The dri­vers re­fused to work on grounds of safe­ty.

How­ev­er, re­spond­ing to the ac­tion, Sinanan said the PTSC and the Min­istry of Works and Trans­port will not al­low de­fec­tive ve­hi­cles to be on the road. He said the is­sue with the San Fer­nan­do and Point Fortin dri­vers were re­solved with­in hours af­ter in­spec­tion stick­ers were pro­vid­ed, yet the dri­vers re­fused to work.

Ro­han Sinanan

“I ask all PTSC dri­vers to put po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion aside. Unions will do what they nor­mal­ly do as we en­ter an elec­tion year. It is un­for­tu­nate that cer­tain ac­tions are tak­en which de­prive peo­ple of that ser­vice,” Sinanan said.

Say­ing there were some cer­tifi­cates miss­ing, Sinanan point­ed out that PTSC had giv­en the as­sur­ance months ago that if there was a prob­lem with an in­spec­tion, then PTSC would be re­spon­si­ble for the tick­et fines and not the dri­vers.

Told that many of the bus­es on the PTSC fleet were old and not road wor­thy, Sinanan agreed that some of them were be­tween 15 and 20 years old. He said there were cur­rent­ly 260 bus­es on the PTSC fleet but 300 more would be added by 2020. He not­ed that the first batch of 150 bus­es would ar­rive by the end of this year. Sinanan al­so said that PTSC would as­sess the ter­rain and routes be­fore as­sign­ing the bus­es.

Be­cause of the chal­lenges of hav­ing old bus­es, Sinanan said Cab­i­net had ap­proved the pur­chase of 300 new bus­es.

“Some of our bus­es have gone way past the lifes­pan. PTSC has 24 brands of bus­es. It is im­pos­si­ble to store parts for 24 brands of bus­es. Bus­es are not go­ing to go on the road if they are not in­spect­ed, but some­times bus­es may go on the road af­ter in­spec­tion and some­thing may hap­pen,” Sinanan ex­plained.

He not­ed that on­ly four bus­es are down from the Point Fortin fleet, not­ing six are work­ing and all bus­es have been in­spect­ed.

Sinanan al­so said that 15 bus­es from the last batch of 25 bus­es have been sent to To­ba­go. He added that when the new bus ar­rives, new bus­es will be sent to Rio Claro, Princes Town and Point Fortin de­pots.


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