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Jan 8, 2021

Bus Operators Lobbying for 100% Capacity

The most recent COVID-19 prevention measures outlined in Statutory Instrument 175 included a fifty percent capacity on all public transportation.  Bus owners immediately voiced their discontent with the decision as it was simply not feasible for them to maintain their runs.  The compromise made then was to allow for seventy-five percent capacity per bus.  But now, the Belize Bus Association says its operators are barely breaking even with the seventy-five percent capacity.  So they are appealing to the government to allow bus operators the one hundred percent carrying capacity.  President Thomas Shaw put forth that request to Minister Rodwell Ferguson in a meeting this morning.  Shaw said the Minister of Logistics wasn’t able to commit and asked for the association to give him some time to respond.  He tells us more about the meeting and why they are advocating for the return to full capacity.

 

Thomas Shaw, President, Belize Bus Association

“I told them fuel went up since they gave us the seventy-five percent because they had it at fifty and we lobbied and actually got it at seventy-five. But it is really hard on the operators right now with the tickets and the sanitizing – it is additional expenses. So, I told that it is urgent that they intervene and do something. We didn’t mind compromising through the holiday but we cannot do it for long.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, operators want the capacity to go back to a hundred percent, you are saying?”

 

Thomas Shaw

“The seating capacity because when you look at it at fifty-sixty – there is no way you can social distance inside a bus. Seats are just two feet apart and it is just that everybody inside a bus is to wear a mask.  You have never heard of no cases the buses have been a super spreader – most of the times these things come from parties, bars and stuff like that.   The operators don’t intend to go through this for too long and we cannot operate. Things are bad already and to be operating at seventy-five percent is really hard and so I brought that up in the meeting and he said he understands and will be working on it and give them another or so whenever the committee meets and they will review it. But my operators basically want to go back to the hundred percent.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“In another two weeks or another month, if the government isn’t able to commit to a hundred percent capacity where does this leave bus operators?”

 

Thomas Shaw

“Well, more than likely, you know nobody goes into business to lose. More than likely if they don’t go back to a hundred percent more than likely the operators cannot operate like that. But we believe in dialogue and we don’t want to disenfranchise the commuters and this is the reason why they said before we fight it is best we come to the table and re-dialogue and so this is the process we are going through right now.”


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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