Transport changes planned

Public transport operators who don’t comply with proposed new rules and regulations can start looking for alternative employment outside the tourism industry.

So warned Tourism Minister Charles Clifford Tuesday night when he met with public transport operators at Mary Miller Hall Tuesday night.

He said the Government is serious about having the necessary enforcement in place and plans to hire more inspectors.

In the meantime police will be asked to supplement the inspector system.

Transporters who don’t comply with the new rules will be taken before the Public Transport Board.

He said the public transport system is an important part of the tourism industry and that Government wants to make sure it is properly structured.

Mr. Clifford said he will not usurp the functions of the Public Transport Board.

The system will be changed, cleaned up and made more credible, he said.

Mr. Clifford stressed there will be a consultation component and those involved will have the opportunity to give their input.

It is possible that the new regulations will mandate uniforms for the transportation sector.

The Government will likely bear the cost and development of the uniforms the first year and following that the operators would be expected to contribute.

Plans are to develop a standard for vehicles including colour schemes and designs.

Also up for discussion are the standardisation of fares, the issue of taxi meters and training and certification courses for drivers, he said.

A problem is that some drivers are authorised to operate from the airport and port and that on cruise ship days some operators simply leave the airport, which results in a lack of transport for air passengers, which can’t continue, said Mr. Clifford.

A look will be taken at having operators working from the port or airport, but not both, or operating at large.

The changes will be gradual and must be properly planned, he said.

Public transport has suffered over the years and there has not been enough focus on it, Mr. Clifford said.

A Public Transport Unit, with a director and inspectors, will be created to deal with the issues, the Public Transport Board restructured and legislation amended, he said.

A wider range of representatives from the transportation industry must be on the board and it must be structured so that there is no monopoly, he said.

Systems and procedures will be streamlined to cut out the bureaucracy and there will be seminars and workshops to give people the opportunity to get more advice and guidance, he said.