The President of the Gros Islet Minibus Association, Danny Edward, has explained that a traffic backup due to a collision between two vehicles at Choc and not strike action by bus operators caused commuters at the Gros Islet bus stand in Castries to endure a long wait for public transportation on Tuesday morning.
“I want to put on the record that we have 179 buses operating on the Gros Islet route which I find is sufficient,” Edward told St Lucia Times.
But he observed that for the past year, there had been several vehicles on the Castries to Gros Islet route.
Edward said his association had unsuccessfully tried different initiatives to address the problem.
And he explained that there had been much more pressure on bus operators’ resources over the past week since the authorities closed the Vieux Sucrieux road.
The association President noted that Tuesday’s vehicle accident at Choc trapped Gros Islet minibus operators in traffic.
“There was a traffic backup because of the accident,” Edward explained.
He felt that the long-term solution is a better road network since the vehicle traffic has outgrown the current one.
In this regard, Edward recalled a conversation with a Transport Ministry official who disclosed that there had been almost 30,000 vehicle registrations since the start of the year.
“That is not sustainable,” he asserted.
“So what the government, or the powers that be, need to do, in my view, is accommodate minibuses to have less vehicles on the road so people could park their vehicles and use the bus service,” Edward told St Lucia Times.
“Now what sense does it make if you have to take the bus and you’re still caught up in the traffic?” He said.
In this regard, Edward noted that some countries, including some in the Caribbean, have bus routes.
“I believe the time has come when we should have a discussion about giving priority to the buses so we can transport the people at a faster pace and in a more timely manner. I think that would be the long-term solution for the Castries-Gros Islet Highway,” he stated.
However, Edward acknowledged that the idea of specialised for buses-only routes might not sit well with motorists.
But he said the authorities could incentivise people to park their vehicles and use the bus system.