Having worked to increase bus availability at the Transport Board which he says was “job No.1”, chairman Ian Gooding-Edghill is ready to continue working on regaining the public’s confidence.
Reporting on the affairs of the state-owned enterprise during the Barbados Labour Party’s 81st annual conference yesterday, he outlined some of the plans.
“I intend, once we get bus availability up to the required standard, to have a dedicated school bus service for the country; . . we will do [it], and it can be done. We’re also going to move to a situation where we’re going to have a cashless system, what you’ll refer to as an automatic fare collection system.
“You have this issue of the fare boxes. I want you, in modern times, . . . download an app and buy bus fare on your app and . . . you can go to the bus and . . . you can tap or present your phone as an app and . . . pay for your ride,” he told those gathered in Queen’s Park.
“We also are going to work hard like I said in stabilizing bus availability. We also have to ensure that we procure some new buses, but I will not speak about that on this occasion; but we are going to adhere to the fleet replacement programme for the Transport Board.
“We’ve already established committees to work with us on several fronts, and again, it’s about deepening the process of decision making within the Transport Board as we go forward from strength to strength,” he said.
The chairman noted, that notwithstanding its cash flow problems, the board had managed the profit and loss situation and is working on integrating workers in an enfranchisement model.
Also on the agenda is to introduce new technology that would allow commuters to know when the buses are “likely to arrive and how best you can follow departures as you move through”.
He added: “It’s been a long ride. It’s been a process that required tough decisions, but we made the decisions. We did a good job in trying to win back the confidence of the public, but we also did a better job in trying to stabilise bus availability. When I joined (six months ago), the bus availability was hovering around 33 buses, today we are moving in the right direction.”
The chairman said he was “confident that with the continued support” of the Ministry [of Transport and Works Minister, Dr William Duguid, the Ministry of Fin ance, management and staff of the Transport Board, and Cabinet “a lot more” would be accomplished.