President of the National Bus Association, Garth Woodroffe, is of the opinion that Grenada does not need a public transportation system, as there are sufficient private buses in operation.
His comment follows last month’s announcement that a major study will be conducted on the transportation sector in Grenada and the region to determine how public transport can be maintained during a health pandemic and a disaster.
Further, Woodroffe told The Grenadian Voice that the issue is how the transport sector is being managed, pointing to plans by Government to form a National Transport Authority to replace the Transport Board.
This new statutory body, he said, will manage transportation in Grenada, not only buses, but also trucks and private vehicles; thus, he reiterated that there will be no need for a public transportation system.
The President said according to the draft plan sent to the Association for review, the Authority will control the operating hours of the bus system.
Noting that the Association is not against this new Authority, stating that it will help fix some of the current issues in the system, Woodroffe said Monday that the Association has yet to receive a response to its request to have three representatives on the Authority’s Board.
Minister for Transport and Implementation, Hon Gregory Bowen, during a recent post Cabinet briefing explained that in other countries where there is public transportation, transport was not interrupted for the public during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government is trying to avoid a replay where at the onset of COVID-19, people who use public transport were left stranded as bus operators on some routes in Grenada ceased operations for fear of their safety.
However, at the lifting of the curfew, which allowed buses to transport a limited number of people and a strict sanitising and mask programme in place in order to control the spread of COVID-19, most bus operators withheld their services and called on Government to provide financial and other assistance to combat their loss.
Following an agreement, public transportation resumed but with limited number of passengers on buses, while Government helped with sanitisation costs.
After consultations with stakeholders, some businesses are offering discounts on mechanical parts and other items.
Governments in the region faced similar challenges with bus operators.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Government announced that the latest Public Health (COVID-19) Regulations now allow for buses and taxis to carry their maximum number of passengers in keeping with their insurance policies. In addition, operators of public transportation are required to adhere to the protocols outlined by the Ministry of Health, which include that passengers wear face
masks/covers over their mouth and nose, ensure hand and respiratory hygiene along with general bus sanitisation to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.