The National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) has announced that the campaign against ‘rogue’ minibus operators will intensify in the new year.
Discipline among minibus operators was one of several issues the Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Secretaries of all minibus associations, both affiliates and non-affiliates of the NCOPT, discussed at a meeting this week with Transport Ministry officials.
“We have one or two rouge operators and the message is come January, we will be dealing with those issues,” NCOPT Vice President Kentry Frederick disclosed.
“The biggest issue of discipline is that we have persons, maybe it is the way they approach the passengers or members of the public is not the best,” Frederick told St Lucia Times.
He said minibus operators get route permits under certain conditions they must meet.
But he also noted that members of the public act inappropriately towards bus operators.
In this regard, the NCOPT Vice President observed that the law would deal with such individuals as provided by the Criminal Code.
“Whereas the NCOPT will maintain that the operators must do their job professionally, the members of the public must conduct themselves appropriately,” Frederick asserted.
He noted that this way, the public transport sector would be ‘stable.’
Frederick said there would be customer service workshops to teach the operators how to conduct themselves and what to do if passenger infringements occur.
According to Frederick, in the case of an errant operator, the NCOPT and the route association invoke suspension.
He revealed that should the behavior not change, the matter would go before the Ministry of Transport, where there could be a recommendation for a permit revocation or a driver license de-endorsement.
“It is clear that you cannot continue because you get permission to do public transportation, therefore it can be withdrawn – the permit can be suspended or revoked from the owner,” the NCOPT Vice President told St Lucia Times.
He also observed that, regrettably, some attorneys misguide operators into believing that no action against them is possible.
“That’s not the case because there are conditions under which a route permit was granted to you. There are conditions for operating a public service vehicle,” Frederick told St Lucia Times.
Headline photo: Passengers board a minibus in Castries (Stock image).