Drivers to strike after two weeks without minibus park
Operators of the Route 42 minibus zone, which plies the East Bank Corridor, are planning to strike next week after they have been working for roughly two weeks without a proper minibus park.
With the collapse of the Stabroek Market wharf last month, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) blocked off the area which traditionally housed the bus park, leaving the operators with nowhere to go.
News Room understands that the intention is to build a market for the vendors who will have to be relocated from the wharf.
But since the bus operators have been removed, they are struggling to find a convenient spot to be stationed to collect passengers.
Some are parked along Lombard Road, which is located a great distance away from the market.
Others have squeezed their way by the Route 31 and 32 Bus Park behind the fire station.
This, however, affects the operations of the buses in those zones as it now takes more than 30 minutes to get out of the park with the increased congestion.
Commuters are also inconvenienced. Some told News Room that they have to walk long distances to look for a bus.
Drenched in frustration, the bus operators explain that they understand the need to relocate the vendors, but criticised the authority for not catering for them.
“Wah I’m saying is, if the M&CC block off the bus park, they got to create a next place to work. They just block off and left the 42 buses just like that so the 42 buses have to work anyhow,” expressed Prowell, a minibus driver.
Another driver, who identified himself as “Shahrukh Khan,” told News Room that he has resorted to working alongside the buses in the Zone 31 and 32 park but the experience has been unfavourable due to the major traffic backup.
A bus driver known as “Rasta Man” explained that the 42 buses are often “harassed” by police for being out of order, but he contended that with no fixed place to park, the operators have to fit in wherever they can to pick up passengers.
The changeup has affected their livelihoods tremendously and they plan to strike at the beginning of next week.
Over at the Stabroek Market Wharf, vendors are unsure how soon they will be moved. They are also uncertain about how long they will be stationed outside of the Fire Station.
But vendors contend that the Mayor and City Council would need to build proper facilities for them at the tarmac so they can store their belongings.
Town Clerk Royston King told a news conference Thursday that the vendors will have to use the barricaded section until the rehabilitation of the wharf is completed.
He said City Hall is awaiting advice from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure on the way forward.