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Aug 28, 2012

Bus owners gear up for transport dispute

The gears are shifting in the Transport Ministry and once again, there seems to be issues regarding permits given for prime runs in the West to a preferred company, West Line. West Line is once again in a tug of war with the Belize Bus Owners Cooperative (BBOC) over runs. The Transport Ministry could not stop the situation from escalating in 2011 when roads were blocked and tires burned on the highways. The players are the same but one major shift has occurred within the ministry.  The new board is chaired by Merlene Bailey Martinez, and it is focused on having the highways populated with roadworthy buses, a ticketing system and uniforms for the drivers. But all is still not well and News Five spoke to the President of the Belizean Bus Association about the future of the country’s highways.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

There appears to be a shake up in the transport department that has bus operators on the edge. Through the Ministry of Transport, the new board that is now chaired by Merlene Bailey Martinez has issued the conditions of road service permits that bus owners must fulfill before being granted licenses to operate.

 

Thomas Shaw, President, Belizean Bus Association

“The minister had stated about all the requirements and basically it is nothing that the association is against because we need to excel, we need to provide better service out there. In terms of the ticketing, yes some of the operators were actually against it, but as the president, I try to. Whenever a passenger buys a ticket, it assures you of a seat and I think what the department of transport is trying to do is to alleviate the crowding, the rushing in and out of the terminals.”

 

Thomas Shaw

Several permits have not been renewed. But the problems are erupting because at least three routes up for renewal by the Belize Bus Owners Cooperative (BBOC) are in danger of being cancelled. The permits have been issued to West Line, a company owned by Sergio Chuc.

 

Thomas Shaw

“One of my members, namely from the BBOC, gave me a call stating that the 3:30, 3:45 and 4 o’clock run was actually given to Sergio Chuc. I did go back to the board and had a discussion on that and the chairlady said that the board will have to look into it. She asked me if BBOC had the permit to do that run. I said I am not sure. So I got in touch with the chairman of the BBOC and yes they did have a copy of the permit of the runs they were presently doing, it was just a matter of renewal. I think that is the dispute up here in the area right now. What they are saying is that these runs have already been given to Sergio Chuc and it has already been paid for; but nobody else has received a permit or hasn’t paid for a run.”

 

It has been confirmed that West Line has been awarded permits for the runs. And if the name Chuc sounds familiar; that is because a little over a year ago, in May of 2011, issues involving his West Line service and BBOC, culminated with fiery blockade along the Northern and Western highways that prompted the intervention of Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

 

Jose Cabrera, Bus Operator [File: May 27th, 2012]

“Well we are expecting fair treatment and respect because we are in this business for so long and hopefully, like I tell you, I am a person who likes to think positive and be realistic with what’s going on here in Belize.”

 

Jose Cabrera

Andrea Polanco

“When you say fair treatment, what exactly the bus operators expect this morning?”

 

Jose Cabrera

“Well we want our runs like it is right now. Like I tell the president, we want to stable something that we want our original runs.

 

Thomas Shaw [File: May 27th, 2011]

“We had a meeting briefly with the Prime Minister at ten this morning; Mister Frazer and myself. Thereafter, I went back to my operators and basically, the outcome of the meeting that I held wit h the Prime Minister when I went back them, some of my operators are still not totally in agreement with the arrangement that Mister Frazer as the BBOC stating that he would try to compromise. The position with the operators from the west; that they wanted this operator, Chuc’s West Line to be removed immediately as I pointed out in the letter previously presented to the minister.”

 

And while Shaw was diplomatic about the issue of BBOC losing its runs to West Line, he says that he supports the move to improve the transport system and will dialogue with the membership on Thursday to chart a way forward.

 

Thomas Shaw

“Tomorrow we will be having a meeting with our operators; they’ll be bringing in their concerns in writing as to what is taking place and what they are experiencing at the moment. From there I will take it to the ministry to the board and have a discussion about it.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

The BBA and the BBOC will continue to dialogue with the Ministry of Transport in the Capital.

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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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13 Responses for “Bus owners gear up for transport dispute”

  1. anonymous says:

    As long as there is a bus going to San Ignacio at 7:00 a.m, I have no problems with changes.

  2. blackberry says:

    This will be interesting as bus owners are usually align to politicians in order to gain political favors. In turn the politicians use bus owners to transport people to campaign rallies. This relation usually results in poor service to commuters. By the way the Kendal Bridge has been open for over two months without the usual political fanfare. Maybe it is because no elections are due in the near future

  3. Mosh says:

    Sergio Chuc again, another barrow croony………..UDP style. Only family and friends benefits…”Normal and Hardworking people” -

  4. Daily Commuter says:

    As long as the 7 a.m. bus from Belmopan to San Ignacio Town is being driven by Tyrone we do not have a problem. What Mr. Shaw should be talking about is his old run down buses he has on the road. His bus service is the WORST in the country. Every morning his 6 a.m. bus from Belmopan stops at the gas station in Roaring Creek to put $10.00 worth of diesel. Another stop is made in United Ville at the gas station, again to put another $10.00 diesel and to hand over monies to the boss. My goodness, this is so embarassing. Many times people are left on the roadside cause the Shaw Bus broke down.

    Mr. Shaw, please take your OLD buses off the road and provide us with the type of buses we deserve as paying customers.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Wat chuc shud do is to put another bus run for the students of ub, dont take away bus from those driver who really need it, chuc dont need it he has money.

  6. ceo says:

    Do we really have to manage and hand out bus routes?

    Why not only have rules that everyone needs to follow and anyone can submit to run busses. If they have all their documents in order let them run their busses. Have enforcement on the road to make sure they do not speed or endanger the lives of the passengers.Simple!

    It would take a little time but the best bus service will win, the bad ones will go away and people will get very good service. Instead of this annual disruption to service. By the way this is not a UPD/PUP thing they both do the same and I think it should stop!

  7. Rod says:

    This kind of thing is so dumb but this is what happens because of the decrepid gov. And unions that are crushing businesses in Belize we need to eradicate unions they do nothing but take people’s money and destroy every body business out with unions out with narrow ism.

  8. fed up commumuter says:

    BBOC needs to get over it…. the reason they are not making money is because they keep passing paying customers on the highway and choosing who to stop for and they are very unmannerly…. No one needs them on any earlier runs or later runs to get stuck on the highway and can’t reach for work…. Take this as constructive criticism and rectify your internal problems then you can decide if you really have a problem… The customers is not always right but at the end of the day they are the reason you are still in business…. GET IT RIGHT!!!! STOP LEAVING US OUT THERE< WE NEED YOU AND YOU NEED US…..

  9. 2 d Point says:

    I think the only reliable bus in Belize is James Bus Line but then it overcrowds (to the max -esp on Toledo and Dang. roads) most of the time, that if the back door opens – people would be pushed out. One thing I noticed with the Guerra’s Bus Service (especially in morning at Bmp) is that they are always not on time. With this fuel price crisis- a lot of people parked their vehicles and have to ride the buses, so the waiting line (esp. for the express bus to Bze) extends all the way outside the terminal. The express bus cannot accommodate all the passengers so when the regular bus arrives, they would switch it for express run- this is very frustrating!!!! Then, we the passengers for the regular have to wait for another 45 mins or so. Ticketing… I think this would solve the problem of overcrowding. The passengers would be hard pressed against the door bars- like prisoners waiting for release… One time, I saw a little boy (about 5 yrs) almost trampled by rushing passengers. It is each person for himself… if you want to go, you have to push, if not- you will be left out. So the authorities urgently need to correct this problem….

  10. x says:

    When the goverment controls buying and selling the first thing that will be bought and sold is the goverment.

  11. miss lee says:

    I must say that guerra is the no.1 bus on the western route. One would only know this if they commute everyday.next in line is D&E followed by westline. BBOC and SHAW doesnt even make it on the list. I cant forget to mention the disrespectful lesbian conductor on the SHAW bus.

  12. Marie says:

    hope they stop racing and jeopardizing peoples lives from ladyville to belize city-I saw one overtake at high speed a whole line of traffic and if oncoming driver never swerved, he would die.

  13. Bob says:

    Wat chuc shud do is to put another bus run for the students of ub, dont take away bus from those driver who really need it, chuc dont need it he has money.
    Bad grammar!!!!!!

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