More Empty Promises Regarding ‘Cowboy’ Jitney Drivers
What some may describe as the reckless behavior of some jitney drivers continues to be a major concern for many Bahamians. The issue recently resurfaced after a little girl was fatally struck by a jitney, though it is unclear if the driver was at fault. While there is a disciplinary system in place for jitney drivers, Road Traffic Controller Philip Turner admits there is a need for stiffer regulation.
“We feel that training will be a further component [and] we continue to talk to them (jitney drivers) and admonish them to [have] training to improve their attitudes and behavior as they continue to deliver a service to the public,” he told The Guardian on Friday.
Turner said his department along with the Royal Bahamas Police Force is taking a more aggressive approach to the issue. He said more responsibility must be placed on the jitney franchise holders to ensure that their buses are operating in accordance with the law.
“If we continue to find that their franchises are operating in a reckless manner, as reports would come in and we investigate, we will hold the franchise holder to account, rather than only going at the bus driver,” he said.
“[Franchise holders] must ensure that they play a more active role in how their franchise is being operated.”
Owner of Courtesy Bus Service Mark Moss said only a handful of drivers are giving jitney drivers a bad name.
However, he does agree that there is a need for stiffer regulations.
“Bus drivers in general have a bad name. I had a bus that was involved in an accident that is under investigation now. But the problem is once [an accident] is involved and a bus driver, they look at us and say we are second class,” he told The Guardian on Friday.
“We have some reliable and consistent, honest bus drivers out there.
“I don’t speed; on any route you don’t need to speed to make money.”
However, Keith Curry of KV Bus Service said aggressive bus driving all depends on a driver’s financial demands.
“If a driver has to make a certain amount of money to pay his rent at the end of the week, it ain’t no way he is going to let another bus in the back of him get past,” he said.
Turner said the government is moving closer to privatizing the public bus system, which he said will address some of the public’s concerns.
“When you have numerous franchises operating on a particular route, then there is the element of competition. We believe that that contributes to some of the unacceptable behavior on the routes,” he said.
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter