Minibus operators expected to sign code of conduct

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The Government and the Minibus Union have agreed on a code of conduct for minibus operators countrywide.

A statement from the Ministry of Business disclosed that a meeting was held between the two parties on Wednesday where the United Minibus Union (UMU) agreed to propose the adoption of a draft Code of Conduct, to its membership.

The code follows concerns raised by consumers pertaining to the daily operation of minibuses.

Muriel Tinnis, Director of the Consumer Affairs Department within the Ministry of Business, told the minibus operators that there continue to be complaints of speeding, touting, overloading of buses and overcharging of consumers.

There were also complaints that operators for certain routes, charge passengers a higher fare at nights.

President of the Union, Eon Andrews said many of the concerns expressed by consumers are justified, according to the Ministry.

While Andrews said the Code of Conduct will address the issue of touting and overloading, he said it is important that the legal issues be separated from the consumer issues, since the Guyana Police Force is mandated to maintain the law.

“Many of the complaints are legal matters,” he told the Ministry.

The Union President recommended mandatory training for conductors, as well as colour coding for busses.

The idea of a code of conduct was also supported by Dennis Chesney, President of the Berbice River Branch Mini Bus Owners Association.

Chesney said his union has already implemented some aspects of the code and he hopes all operators will follow suit.

The meeting was also attended by Superintendent Dennis Stephens, Deputy Traffic Chief who underscored that the problem of touting persists because minibus drivers and conductors encourage it.

Superintendent Stephens also pointed out that congestion continues to be a problem because of a large number of buses and the limited parking space available.

The Code of Conduct addresses issues such as customer service, health and safety, licensing and compliance and the general operation of buses.

The union will discuss the draft of the Code of Conduct presented by the Ministry with its membership and sign on once there is a consensus.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Department is working on an implementation plan for the code of conduct.

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