Friday, December 2, 2011

Huge Concerns Over Bahamas Bus System!

Just thought I'd put this letter up, written to The Bahamas Press by a concerned citizen. Like her, this issue affects almost all of us at some point or another because the chaotic and lawlessness of many of these drivers has been pressing for far too long.   Last year, around this same time of year I had to literally pull the back of my babysitters' clothes to stop her from being thrown out of the door of the bus WHILE SITTING! This was of course following a "race" between our driver and another of the same route. So as not to hit the other bus, he slammed full brakes, nearly giving me whiplash and tossing babygirl's sitter outside.

Something desperately needs to be done with this situation because you should not have to risk your life for $1.25!  Since I'm often a passenger, I witness the most unbelievable and unethical acts known to any public transportation system.  Drivers would stop abruptly to the side of the road to go and take a pee right beside a lamp-pole, stop and park you on the side of the road (light or dark) to "dash" in a liquor store for a beer, have  their cohorts drinking and partying right along-side them as if they are off duty.  One even pushed the Heineken right behind him and right in front of me to dodge traffic cops patrolling the area. Then there's the issue of proper maintenance. Many of the buses on the road are in pure violation of traffic inspection requirements and are major "pollutants on wheels"!

Why do we even have a government if something as simple as implementing a decent transportation system is such a daunting task? These guys need to wake up and smell the jitney exhaust because not only our "little local Bahamians" catch the bus! Tourists do, executives do and so do the MP's loved ones!

Quite frankly I think $1.25 is too hefty a price to pay to feel demeaned and in fear for your life!

Read further: 

A letter to da Editor

Dear Editor,
The public bus system in New Providence is unsafe and inefficient. On a daily bases bus drivers turn the streets of the capital into a race track in a mad dash for the next $1.25; displaying a wanton disregard for public safety.  At times the music is also painfully loud and customers are held hostage by the chaos and dysfunction.  Passengers are also assaulted by the distasteful language in the music played and DVDs shown.  Unfortunately, not sufficient attention is being played to the public busing system despite its potential to ease the notorious traffic congestion on this island.
Around the world, public transportation is used to lessen the negative impact of traffic by providing a cheap and safe alternative to owning a personal vehicle.   Yet, on New Providence, buses have become rolling discos or movie theaters, which is fun for youngsters but a nightmare for other passengers.  Another baffling fact is drivers change the bus route deciding where they wish to go, leaving you stranded.  There are also routes that are saturated with buses while there is a drought in other areas.  The problem is the busing system is profit driven rather that service driven, contrary to the prime directive of public transportation. I understand that the buses are privately owned and the owners must make a profit and the drives an income, but public safety is paramount.
As a citizen, I would like the Road Traffic Department to examine the current transportation system with a view to making it safer and more efficient.   Firstly, I think music and DVDs should not be played on public buses because there is no way of striking a balance between pleasure and nuisance for the comfort of and out of respect for all.    A quiet atmosphere is also more agreeable and may also discourage people, especially young men and teenagers from hanging out on the buses.  It goes without saying that the buses should be driven is a safe manner.
By Sheleta Collie

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