The National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) President, Godfrey Ferdinand, has expressed concern over recent road accidents, including minibus crashes blamed on brake failure.
Ferdinand said all accidents, not just those involving minibus operators, cause concern.
“It’s just very alarming when it’s a bus because obviously there are more persons on a bus,” he explained.
“On any given day, if we are to look at the accident rate, there would be more private vehicles than minibuses, but then it becomes an issue because of the number of people we transport,” the NCOPT President stated.
He disclosed that a meeting involving the NCOPT, the Insurance Council of Saint Lucia, the garages, the police, and the Ministry of Transport was to address the issue.
According to Ferdinand, the police proposed the meeting.
“We are also aware that accidents are things you cannot avoid. However, some of these incidents are not accidents. Some are based on the condition of the vehicles; some are driver error, and sometimes, road conditions,” the NCOPT President told reporters.
Ferdinand said health issues also contribute to some road incidents.
“Somebody could be sick and end up in an accident,” he observed, adding that signage was another factor.
Nevertheless, Ferdinand revealed that the Ministry of Transport would inspect minibuses more often.
“So we expect there to be a decrease in accidents and better conditions on the road,” he asserted.
Ferdinand said the public transport sector was doing well in transitioning from old to new vehicles.
He recalled that the government had given concessions on new vehicles.
But he explained that due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, some operators would be unable to afford new vehicles.
As a result, the NCOPT has asked for concessions on used vehicles and has obtained a list outlining what operators can import.
In this regard, Ferdinand said minibuses in better condition would soon be on the road.