With Government proposing to ban all music on public service vehicles (PSVs), the Alliance of Owners of Public Transportation (AOPT) is preparing to roll out a scheme that will otherwise keep passengers occupied.
AOPT Chairman Roy Raphael told Barbados TODAY discussions were under way with a telecommunications provider to install Internet on the vehicles, with a pilot due to be launched soon.
“We have met with a telecoms provider and we are looking at having the vehicle having an Internet connection so that persons who want to, can play their own music from their cellphones. We are going to be having a pilot very soon on one minibus. We are looking at one on the long haul, like from Bridgetown to Josey Hill, so that persons can catch the van and have an instant connection and they can play whatever music they like via headphones,” Raphael explained.
With modern mobile phones already carrying music players from which people listen to music, it was not immediately clear how an Internet connection would help in this regard, although passengers could watch music video streaming sites such as YouTube.
It also was not clear if this would be a free service, or if users would be asked to pay a fee.
“We are examining it carefully. We want to roll it out very soon and we are sure the public would like it very much. Once started, going forward those vehicles won’t have radios in them. We are eager to hear how the public responds to it,” the AOPT head said.
Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley last month announced that “all music on PSVs will be banned” in proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act.
Speaking during debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, Lashley had linked students’ conduct to the “subculture” which he claimed was being fostered through the music being played on PSVs.
Raphael Monday reiterated his organization’s support for the proposed ban, agreeing with Lashley that most of the music helped to promote bad behaviour.
“Some people may not agree with me but my position is totally clear that they should have a total ban of music on the PSVs. I support the ban. I think the ban on music would curb some of the bad behaviour.
“A lot of the problems we are facing are coming from the promotion CDs and they have a lot of bad words in them and its very unfortunate in Barbados that we could have a situation like that and in that vein, all public service vehicles should have their amplifiers and radios removed. It’s against the law and we would support any legislation from the Ministry of Transport to go to Parliament to ban music on all public service vehicles,” he said.
This notwithstanding, Raphael questioned why the law already in place was not being enforced.
“There is already a ban in place. The Road Traffic Act speaks directly to it. There should be no playing of loud music on PSVs and I’m wondering why the authorities don’t enforce it. Why should you go to Parliament again to retrieve the laws when there is already a law in place to deal with the playing of loud music? I’m not only concerned about the loud music but the lewd music that is being played,” Raphael added.
When Barbados TODAY visited the Princess Alice van stand earlier Monday, some of the PSV operators were also in support of the ban, although there was consensus that radios should remain in the vehicles.
“I won’t be vex with them banning the music, but banning a radio is another thing. If they tell us just play the radio I could live with that. But the kind of music those other guys play really wants banning. I have two children, both at school and I need to know what is going on out there,” said one operator who asked not to be identified.
“Some of these guys overdo it. They have the music too hard and the kind of things the deejays would talk does even upset me. I think it attributes to the bad behaviour as well. But the way the conductors behave further promotes the bad behaviour. All of that is nonsense and they need to stop,” he added.
Another driver, who also asked not to be identified, said he would not be happy with a total ban because he enjoyed listening to the radio while making his rounds.
“I wouldn’t like it to get ban because I like to hear what’s going on in the world . . . I play all radio.
However, he too admitted that some operators were out of hand.
“Some vans are a little too rowdy with their music, but I don’t tell anyone what to do with their vans. I operate mine and I have been driving this for a very long time. I just do what’s right, keep to myself and keep a low profile. I try not to get in anything,” he added.