EDITORIAL: PSVs must be compliant

THE Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) has recently described efforts by the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit in pulling public service vehicles (PSVs) off the road if found to be in breach of the present recommended COVID-19 protocols, as “too draconian” and even “high-handed”. The AOPT suggests that first-time offenders should be shown more leniency.

Reports are that 18 public service vehicles (PSVs) were pulled off the road recently, as operators of these PSVs were found to be in breach of the recommended COVID-19 protocols, related to public transport. However, the Alliance stated its position on the matter, suggesting that “it is only fair and reasonable that the driver and conductor, once found to be in breach for at least the first time, that they should be given a warning of the infraction and simultaneously, the owner should be informed. If subsequent to this they repeat the offence, then only temporary action should be taken”.

The AOPT went on to state, “Ordering the PSVs off the road for a first offence appears to be too draconian or very high-handed by the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit. This is punitive.”

However, the AOPT at the same time said it would use the opportunity to implore all drivers, conductors and commuters to adhere to the protocols, such as the wearing of masks. The AOPT even stated that commuters who bluntly refuse to wear their masks as they are about to board all PSVs, should be refused entry to the vehicles. Additionally, upon entering the vehicles, they should be required just to remove their masks for adequate identification.

Now over the years, the PSV sector has taken a beating for a high level of indiscipline and for allowing operators and conductors to break numerous rules. It can be said that the PSV sector provides an extremely valuable service to the Barbadian public and must not be sidelined or overlooked. At the same time, however, given the critical role that is played, owners and operators should ensure that they comply with all the rules and regulations and of late, the recommended COVID-19 protocols. You are in control of your vehicles and having been forewarned that the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit will be out and about doing checks, it is only reasonable to assume that every effort should be made to ensure that all riding on the PSVs comply with the rules, to prevent any punitive action.

Indeed, as the AOPT has pointed out, “We are in a new norm, because this disease is highly contagious and the wearing of masks is to help mitigate against its spread. This is primarily for everyone’s safety. It is imperative that everyone be in conformity with all of Government’s COVID-19 protocols.”

The AOPT, whilst pleading with workers in the PSV sector not to bring the sector into any further disrepute, rightly stated, “The workers in this sector must be disciplined and be of good behaviour and conduct themselves with the highest level of decorum. It is imperative that there must be order and discipline on the roads of Barbados.”

Now we can only hope that all owners and operators of PSVs heed the AOPT’s pleas and comply with the present COVID-19 protocols and regulations.

Barbados Advocate

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