The United Minibus Union continues to disagree with the government’s decisions as it relates to public transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest COVID-19 gazetted order green lights public transportation providers whether by air, land, or water to carry the full number of passengers they are licensed to carry. The only requirement is that each passenger must wear a face mask.
President of the Union Eon Andrews, during an interview with the News Room on Monday, said this will only contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and does not comply with the Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on physical distancing.
“What are we hoping to gain by letting the transportation service providers go back to normal? I cannot understand it.
“When you talk about minibuses and these other public transports going back to full capacity you are empowering some of the most indiscipline set of workers…when you make mention that you can go back to normal it is a field day for them,” Andrews stated.
Andrews continued his plea for minibuses to transport two passengers in a seat. The previous COVID-19 order allowed for three passengers to be transported in a seat.
Andrews said some drivers are carrying passengers in overloaded buses, transporting up to five passengers in one seat.
“The Union has said and it continues to say as long as there is COVID-19, one has to remember that without the commuters there is no sector and you cannot have three in a set there must be a space, we have to cut our losses and carry on with a little less,” Andrews added.
The Union is not an enforcement agency and therefore can only advise the service providers, Andrews pointed out.
“The transportation providers in Bartica have decided we are taking two in a seat and even dividing the workforce where half of the buses work three days and the other half work two days,” he said.
Andrews further called for the National COVID-19 Task Force to engage the Union and other stakeholders before these decisions are made.