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Nov 14, 2018

Department of Transport Denies City Shuttle’s Application for Belama Bus Run

Owner of City Shuttle, Philip Jones, is accusing the Department of Transport of unfair practices and discrimination of a political nature. Jones wants to provide transportation services to and from Belize City and Belama Phase three, four and five. Currently, Haylock Bus Service is the only company providing the exact same service to Belama Phase one and two and has three buses reportedly doing daily runs. Jones says he saw the need for another bus company to provide the services and hence applied to the Belize City Council for permission. The council granted permission which led the owners of Haylock Bus Service to launch a judicial review application in the Supreme Court. Haylock Bus Service is claiming that council acted unlawfully when it granted permission to City Shuttle. Their application for judicial review named the council as the respondent and on Tuesday Supreme Court Judge Shona Griffith dismissed the application against the council because the authority to issue permits is solely the responsibility of the Transport Board. Prior to Tuesday’s ruling, Jones had applied to the Department of Transport for a road service permit to provide daily runs for commuters from the Pound Yard Bridge to Belama in Belize City. A decision to deny that application was taken in October. Today, accompanied by attorney Kareem Musa, Jones told the media that he cannot allow Haylock Bus Service to monopolize the Belize City/Belama bus runs.

 

Philip Jones

Philip Jones, Owner, City Shuttle

“I find it very unfair because I have always been the…I don’t know fallback. Whenever there is a problem, I am the one to be called. So when I got the approval, I made the investment and I got the necessary buses and you all can do your due diligence, my phone keeps ringing because people keep asking me why the service stop. And I say well you need to have a sit-down with Belmopan; they denied me. The matter is in court; I believe the judge was fair and I believe in due process and my attorney, I told him that I feel like I have been treated unfairly.  Whenever I need to be used, I am being used. So I say let me apply there’s fair play to both of us to provide the service to residents and competition is healthy. You all know that. As the media, you all compete to be better than the other. And I don’t have to say it, you can do and ask the commuters…there have been many complaints about Haylock Bus Service not being consistent, not providing the service, not being road worthy and it is documented by the national traffic and they know. Complaints have been made many times and he is still running. But that’s his business. My business is to provide the service, the residents need it and there is no way in the world that you can only run three buses or even four buses to provide that service  for that area.”

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Attorney

“Why I say we have very good grounds of appeal is because the law is expressly clear when it comes to road service permits, there can be no monopoly the way that Haylock’s Bus Service is running the Belama route currently unless you have the consent of the National Assembly. This matter has never been taken to the House of Representatives for the approval for Haylock’s Bus Service to have a monopoly and exclusive concession to run the Belama bus route. And therefore it is our respectful opinion that in fact when the Transport Board made the decision to arbitrarily deny Mister Jones’ application for a road service permit to be a competitor on that very route, in fact that results now to an exclusive concession to Haylock’s Bus Service.”

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