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Apr 18, 2013

Bad bus business resolved in the capital

Public transportation is flowing tonight following a meeting in Belmopan.  As it stands, the wrinkles have been ironed out between two competing companies over the Belmopan-Belize City run. Both have agreed to a formula making way for one of the companies to service the five o’clock run which transports most public officers from the Capital to the City. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The removal of Belize Bus Owners Cooperative from an established evening run to Belize City created a great deal of unease within the public transportation industry earlier this week.  At the eleventh hour on Wednesday evening, an attempt to block the entrance to the Belmopan Bus Terminal was suspended, giving way for cooler heads to sit at the negotiating table today.  Present at this morning’s meeting was Chief Transport Officer Denton Belisle, as well as representatives from BBOC and West Line.

 

Osbaldo Castillo, General Manager, West Line Bus Company

Osbaldo Castillo

“We were called into a meeting because of a certain incident that took place yesterday evening.  The incident at hand was that West Line has an approved fvive-fifteen p.m. workers express [bus] to take back to Belize City, which in the morning brings the government workers at six-forty-five.  However, the BBOC were saying that we were in their time slot.”

 

Despite BBOC not having a valid road service permit for the run, Belize Bus Association President, Thomas Shaw, asserts that West Line is also not in possession of that license.

 

Thomas Shaw, President, Belize Bus Association

“They were just claiming that BBOC didn’t have the run and West Line was called to do the run but, if you were supposed to ask, West Line didn’t have the permit either.”

 

According to Osbaldo Castillo, West Line’s general manager, his company purchased the right to the run and was operating the route legitimately.

 

Osbaldo Castillo

“That is something that we were issued, we had paid for it and we were exercising our rightful manner to do so, however, we had noticed that because the James [Bus] Company pulls in along with West Line at five p.m. and leaves at five-fifteen, the same slot that we have, it was non-profitable for West Line.  We had been struggling with this run for quite sometime and we had even been to the point that we had lowered our prices just to try to cover our diesel expense and our salaries and stuff.  But the issue brought to us was that BBOC has a four-forty-five run that leaves at five from the terminal, so if they come in before us then James and ourselves are left with nothing to take back to Belize City and we already have problems with James.  So there were like three companies struggling for a fifteen to half an hour time span, which was non-profitable for any of them.”

 

To resolve the issue a request was made by BBOC during the meeting to have the run returned to them since it was not lucrative to their competitors.

 

Thomas Shaw

Thomas Shaw

“Actually we came to a solution where the run was actually awarded back to BBOC.  The representative from West Line stated that he doesn’t need to do it because he’s not making money and that was basically the outcome of the meeting but it was a successful meeting and we had a commissioner, Mr. Belisle, who was quite attentive and listened to us and we actually, BBOC actually came out on top and I really want to thank the commissioner for that. What they’re going to do [is that] they’re going to get a temporary permit to operate from today until next week Thursday and then they’re actually going to have something official.”

 

That schedule resumes next Thursday. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “Bad bus business resolved in the capital”

  1. Storm says:

    Government should not pick winners and losers in private business. Let businesses compete fairly and safely, and may the better company win. Competition improves the breed, and always gives the consumer the best value and service.

    This kind of government control is just another path for bribery and corruption, and no benefit to the bus riders or public.

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