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Jan 4, 2011

Lopez buses being boxed out of established route

Earlier we told you about the uncertainty facing the employees of the National Transport, but that’s not the only trouble in the bus industry. In the City, the well known Lopez shuttle, owned and operated by Carlos Lopez, is suffering its own woes. Lopez claims he is being boxed out of a bus route he established; and he won’t have it. A tete a tete is expected between the players. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting

If you visit the downtown area of Belize City, chances are you have either caught a Lopez Shuttle bus or have seen its owner, Carlos Lopez, in the traffic.  He has also been in the news before for unfair competition with his rival in the business.  Today Lopez is in the news again, accusing the City Council’s Traffic Department of trying to stifle his business.

Carlos Lopez, Owner, Lopez Shuttle

carlos Lopez

“They want to take over the route that I designed four years ago.  In 2006 I actually started the route, Central American Boulevard, Port, Yarborough, Downtown.  They want to remove me from the present route and send me to operate in the Lake I area where there’s thirty dollar taxi operating.”

Marion Ali

“Why?”

Carlos Lopez

“Because Novelo’s (my competitor) want to take over my route.”

Marion Ali

“That is your belief.”

Carlos Lopez

“That is my strong belief.”

But Councilor responsible for Traffic, Dean Samuels, says nothing is further from the truth.  He said that the Transport Board assigned the routes and made the decision to enforce traffic laws to avert some of the chaos and cut-throat habits that occur among bus operators in Belize City.

dean samuels

Dean Samuels, City Councilor

“The routes on a whole were looked at, were recreated that more bus providers were able to get a piece of the pie. And again, there is a lot of confusion and everybody want the bigger pie and again all you can do…”

Marion Ali

“So he is confined to one route only? He should not be running the Port Loyola Boulevard route?”

Dean Samuels

“If he was not given these routes by the traffic department or by the proper authority, then he shouldn’t. Then that is illegal. And if he is given a ticket for doing so, it is just that we are enforcing. And it’s not only Mister Lopez, anybody else that is.”

Marion Ali

“You will admit though that the Lake I route really places him in a precarious situation because he is competing against all the dollar taxis that are running in that area. The other route which he wants to be a part of is given to his competitor and that is his gripe right there.  That dah simply the man point that unu really di try cramp fi he style.”

Dean Samuels

“Marion, I don’t think it was nothing personal against Mr. Lopez in no kinda way. When these routes were created it wasn’t that we will give Mister Lopez this. Mister Lopez from my understanding came in and when he was told that this was his route, he was more than happy to get this route.”

But Lopez denies this and accuses Traffic Manager, Kevan Jenkins, of having a personal vendetta against him, an allegation which former traffic officer, Mark Banner, supports.

mark banner

Mark Banner, Former Traffic Officer

“Every time they send me after Mr. Lopez.  Sometimes I don’t even want to go to him.   Usually dehn want Mr. Lopez bus move and they make the next bus could park.  What’s good for one good for all.  Dehn always di pick pan Mr. Lopez that dah weh I could say from the bottom of my heart.”

Marion Ali

“Dehn as in who?”

Mark Banner

“Mr. Jenkins—the Traffic Manager, Kevan Jenkins.”

Carlos Lopez

“The harassment has been going on for the past two weeks. Two weeks ago Mr Jenkins parked two of my buses at the Traffic Department and my drivers called me and I went there and explained to him that my buses are licensed and insured and he has no power to park my buses.  Last week Friday he also instructed Mr Avila from the Traffic Department (Raccoon) to park one of my buses.”

But according to Traffic Manager, Kevan Jenkins, there is no truth to this.

Kevan Jenkins, Traffic Manager

“Mr. Lopez did receive two tickets this morning: one for road service permit and one for driving with the door opened. And also we have two more for Belize Intransit—Metro Buses, three for them and we also have a summons, a report, where the officer take a next bus into the police because they neva had no insurance. So it’s not only Mister Lopez. Mister Lopez can say what he feels, but I di deal with facts.”

kevan jenkins

Marion Ali

“But coming to his aid or to his support is no other than former traffic officer who has been employed for eight years here—no longer employed here–.Mister Mark Banner who says that he has been personally sent by you, Mister Jenkins, to go and target Mister Lopez for no reason.”

Kevan Jenkins

“Mr. Banner just have a gripe. He was dismissed from this Department for not doing his job. So he just have a gripe against this department and me personally I guess. I don’t know.”

Marion Ali

“Are you saying that he is lying?”

Kevan Jenkins

“It’s not true. After Mister Lopez; no. Mister Banner cannot ride a motorcycle and so Mister Banner would be an officer we just put to direct the flow of traffic. Not to do that kind of enforcement.”

But while the accusations and rebuttals were rife today, back in the steady flow of things downtown, Lopez says he will continue doing his original route and Councilor Samuels says he is willing to leave Lopez with the Lake I route assigned to him, and try to accommodate his company to share the downtown route with other competitors in the business if they can all come to an agreement. Marion Ali for News Five.

If Lopez gets back his routes, it could lead to other troubles.

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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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6 Responses for “Lopez buses being boxed out of established route”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    At some point the City Council will get something right. They rebuilt the market, named it after Finnegan, downplayed the ownership & are still bickering with the vendors. Belize City is not big by anyone’s standard & we cannot get the bus routes together & possibly licensed too many operators without considering the consequences.

    Roger, don’t let the lost to Perdomo dampen your spirit, show us your negotiating skills & sit down with the rest of the council to clear this up. We need to see your generation make the old guys sit up & pay attention. Happy New Year Buddy, I’ll mess with you again but be assured that I am rooting for you & will give you your props whenever you deserve them.

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    Why is Novelos in the middle of this mess? How many brother & sister companies are being operated under their umbrella?

  3. cg says:

    guess we know why the bank didn’t get its money, was used to grease the Traffic Department for the new business…ay ya yi

  4. zane gibson says:

    GOVERNMENT SHOULD PUT A STOP TO DOES DOLLAR VANS MOST OF THEM ARE OPERATED BY NON-BELIZEAN. GOVERNMENT KEEP ON SUPPORTING THE NON-BELIZEANS ARE PEOPLE NOTICING THAT. WELL MR. LOPEZ YOU HAVE TO GO FIGHT WITH THE DOLLAR VANS IN LAKE-I NOW BECAUSE ALL YOU DO IS FIGHT AND THREATEN THE METRO BUS DRIVERS I CATCH YOUR BUS SO I KNOW HOW YOU ARE. MAYBE IF YOU HAVE GOTTEN RID OF THAT DRIVER MR. FERGUSON WHO KEEPS ON CAUSING ACCIDENTS AND FIGHTING WITH OTHER BUS DRIVERS NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPEN TO YOU. ATLEAST YOU STILL HAVE A BUS ROUTE. WISH YOU LUCK IN LAKE -I.

  5. chabelli says:

    I understand Councillors have buses on the run also. It is only a matter of time when these duncey cats will be forgotten and scorned forever. You see the Council’s modus operani is always to ensrure that pettinerss and inefficuiencies are alwys oklaced in round holes with square pegs. All except nobnre are a fraud a rip-of and tax payers money and trhey should all be charged criminall

    ay aya a

  6. alberto lagos says:

    mr,lopez i really admire you man and i know that you are a good person so do not allow nobody to put you down.it is a shame what is happening in my beloved country, i wonder if there some money under the table from novelo;s as cuold happen.Belize really have a bad name,some months ago i was doing some work at the WWII museum in New Orleans and i meet a gentleman who went to spend vacations ,he spend some days in Belize City, he said never to come back again, he mention a part of the movie [the dogs of war] when the movie character arrived to the airport and the custom officer took money and a bottle of liquor from him ,so you get the picture .He told me beautyful country he loved people on the streets but there were some beggers and no the street beggers but some people in good work levels trying rip him out.I Wonder what really happened to him .Belize needs to get rid of all evil. GOD bless my country.

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