Minister of Education Ronald Jones believes the country’s public transportation system is too “unruly” and is suggesting the total integration of the public and privately-operated public transport providers under one umbrella.
Speaking in House of Assembly today on a bill to supplement the 2017/2018 Estimates and provide $5 million to the Transport Board to pay several creditors, Jones made no mention of privatization of the state-run bus service, but he argued that the country needed a seamless transportation system while lamenting that “We are still playing hop scotch . . . . Even with the large number of other vehicles on our roads . . . we are still having some difficulty in this island finding the right mix.”
He also acknowledged that over the past couple of months, “we have been having some hiccups in the movement of school children between 6:30 and 10 a.m.
“This [is an] unruly system that we have where we have a Transport Board, ZRs, minibuses and the private movement in a hustle.
“The integration that the Minister [of Transport and Works] spoke about I support because there should be a total integration of the system,” he maintained.
Jones also called for a universal passenger ticket system for private transport operators, as well as the Transport Board and a fully integrated bus schedule.
However, with private operators currently calling for some form of subsidy from the state, Jones maintained that they would have to open their books to Government.
He noted that while there was fear that if Government was aware of operators’ revenue and schedules that they might become targets for the tax man, Jones said the state could not pump money into the pockets of private operators without having some vital information about their operations.