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Oct 14, 2016

Belmopan Area Mini-Bus Owners Complain Over Cut in Hours

Mini bus owners in the Belmopan area say they are not happy with the Department of Transport. The operators who are members of the Western Mini Bus Owners Cooperative Society Limited say that they received a letter from the Department of Transport on Thursday informing them that as of Monday, October seventeenth, they will only be able to operate their buses for six hours of the day, instead of the normal twelve that they have permits for. Now, most of the operators are in possession of permits that extend beyond Monday, some as far as up to 2017 and 2018. The operators say they have been asked to take in those permits that reflect their twelve hour schedules to be amended to the six hours. The group of operators say they were only asked to one meeting on September twenty-seventh with the Chief Transport Officer and Minister Edmond Castro. They say that Castro didn’t hold any sort of consultations, and just told them point blank that he was going to make the changes regardless. The media spoke with the Vice Chairman of the Co-op:

 

Giovanni Mejia, Vice Chairman, Mini Bus Owners Cooperative

“We as busito owners, we are concerned also about it because of our loans with the bank. We already borrowloans. And they issued us a road service permit for two years to run the bussito them throughout the villages surrounding Belmopan, which is from Ontario, Teakettle, Camalote, Roaring Creek, Belmopan, and then we also have from Mahogany Heights, Frank’s Eddy, St. Matthews, Cotton Tree, Belmopan. We have from St. Margaret’s, Armenia and to Belmopan. And they have cut us for six hours for the day.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, you believe this is a breach of contract? Talk to us about what contract you have currently?”

 

Giovanni Mejia

“We have a contract with them for two years. We have a road service permit which we paid for and they have issued that permit. If we don’t have that permit traffic will stop us and give us a ticket. So they decided to give us the run from these villages and they approved our road service permits so we can run through these areas in Belmopan.”

 

Giovanni Mejia

Andrea Polanco

“And these hours are to be in effect until 2017, is that correct?”

 

Giovanni Mejia

“2017, yes ma’am. Well, what happened with us in the group, we were formed in a small group and then we have a bigger group. Some have road service permits that have expired this year, some will expire next year and some until 2018.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now how many bus operators will be affected by this change?”

 

Giovanni Mejia

“We have twenty-one busitos that will be affected.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now what is the specific reason that they gave to you guys that this is x, y and z why we are taking these six hours away?”

 

Giovanni Mejia

“Well, the concern they brought to us is that they will give us the peak the time; the rush time that people travel from six in the morning to nine in the morning.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And you don’t believe that those peak times you will be make more or the same money as before?”

 

Giovanni Mejia

“Well, no. It will probably not be.”

 

Reporter

“And before these changes that you’re telling us, were there any consultations before trying to figure out…?”

 

Giovanni Mejia

“No, we got one consultation from Edmond Castro stating to us that this is what he is going to do. Cut us six hours for the day and only give us six hours for the day. When we already have issued a road service permit that says six to six in the morning. He explained to us that he is going to take out the six hours and just give we the peak hour which is the busy hours in the morning and evening. He also told us that he is going to gazette it and carry it to the cabinet and it will become a law.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did you guys expressed to him that you have a fundamental problem with this?”

 

Giovanni Mejia

“We tried explain to him and he didn’t want to hear our concern. We even told him what will happen to our loans at the bank and he say, ‘me nuh send unu no way gaan borrow no money fi put any busito out deh.’”

 

According to the Vice Chairman, the meeting took place back in September.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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