Park and ride?
Tue, 12/27/2016 - 12:00am
Careful examination needed
As traffic congestion has worsened over the years there has been an idea touted around of Barbadians engaging in a park and ride system to ease the gridlock, but one road safety advocate is advising Government to think long and hard before going that route.
Sharmane Roland-Bowen, President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) said that on paper a park and ride system may look good and has been successfully employed for specific events, but she does not believe that it would be do well in everyday reality. This, she said, is especially so given the limitations in the road network and the unreliability of the transport sector.
“It may have worked for the World Cup, it has worked for Crop Over events, but on a regular basis I cannot see it working because among the first things that would have to be done would be an upgrading of the buses and an increase in the buses and that costs money. Even if we utilise the Transport Board and the privately owned Public Service Vehicles, no one is going to want to put down their car, give up their privacy and air conditioning to sit in a hot, packed bus and still be stuck in traffic,” she told The Barbados Advocate.
Roland-Bowen added, “Even if some people take the option to park and ride, most will not and congestion will still exist, because we don’t have contraflow lanes where the bus would run opposite to the flow of traffic, or exclusive bus lanes that can allow them to beat the traffic. The fact is our land space is limited will make it difficult to accommodate either. Also, I personally am not going to put my life in someone else’s hands if we don’t have that breathalyser; someone could be out drinking the night before and come to drive a bus the next morning still impaired.”
Nevertheless, she admitted that if such a system was implemented it might attract persons at the beginning, but she feels it would be short-lived. However, she suggested a better option might be to promote carpooling, which would not only ease traffic, but likely boost productivity in the workplace as persons would be less stressed when arriving at work.
Roland-Bowen made the point while noting that on any given day there are many vehicles on the road with only one occupant, but she is adamant that if drivers could be encouraged, or even given incentives to carpool to get and from work, and to get their children to and from school, it could reduce traffic at peak hours. Moreover, she explained that carpooling, even without incentives from Government would benefit those who engage in it, helping them to save money. Additionally, she said if Barbadians buy in to the idea it could also help to reduce air pollution.
Moreover, the road safety advocate suggested that if possible, some tweaks could be made to the road network allowing for high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes along the highways for those transporting two or more passengers, even if only at specific times of the day. (JRT)