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Sep 1, 2022

Bus Operators Meet with Transport C.E.O. to Discuss Floralia’s Request

There is concern among bus operators in the public transportation industry tonight after newcomer, Floralia Bus Company, applied to the Ministry of Transport for additional runs. Floralia, which currently operates between Punta Gorda and Belize City, has requested that its runs be extended to include services from Placencia to Belize City and from Benque Viejo del Carmen to Corozal. But the bus operators who have been serving the country in those areas quickly asked for a meeting with officials of the Transport Ministry to discuss the matter. That meeting finished late this evening with C.E.O. in the Ministry, Marconi Leal, Junior. Following the discussion, News Five got both sides of the issue.

 

Ewart Metzgen

Ewart Metzgen, Secretary, Belize Bus Association

“The other runs that they’re proposing for the north and the west side, those runs will be stepping on major operators who have been in the industry for quite some time and one of the issues is that, and operators see it, is that they’re cherry-picking. They’re looking at runs – the most profitable runs that took some operators years to build – and they’re going in applying maybe for fifteen minutes to a half an hour ahead of these operators who have been there for years. So that’s the contention there. We don’t see it right that you bring in a new player and have them being placed in front of operators who have been here and the argument with that that we have with GoB is that they have 2022 buses and people out here di ask for it, but I’ll be honest, people di ask fid eh thing but deh nuh wa pay for it because we have in the south – Floralia has three runs right now – they started out as express runs. Right now dehn di battle with the rest of operators out ya di run regular run wid deh 2022 bus. Deh nuh di run express no more. And when they were brought in to the industry they were brought in to give a first class service and dehn deh out ya di run regular run wid wi.”

 

Marconi Leal Junior

Marconi Leal Junior, C.E.O., Ministry of Transport

“It’s not that consideration is being given to Floralia. It’s that Floralia has requested permits and at the last Transport Board meeting, it was that at the next board meeting Floralia would then do a presentation but we also wanted to ensure that we give the B.B.A an opportunity to get their feedback on it. So this session today was about getting their feedback and view on the permit that Floralia had requested before the next board meeting next Thursday. So it’s not that they’re getting consideration. It’s that they have requested permits and we’re consulting with the bus operators and getting their views on it.”

 

Marion Ali

“Their concern is that Floralia seems to be “cherry-picking” the runs that they want and they are fearful that they (Floralia) might be accommodated.”

Marconi Leal, Jr.

“Well, we’re doing consultations with them and the board will discuss it. It’s not that any decision has been made at this point, so that’s their thoughts and their view but it’s not like any decision has been made at this point. Bus operators are aware that we’ve done multiple consultations with them as part of our I.D.B transformation project in the Department of Transport. And what that includes is looking at the scheduled that we currently have; it’s looking at the entire policy so they are aware that we’re looking at a first class service. They know that Floralia has the 2022 buses in country; they know that we’re also looking at optimizing what we currently have in terms of we’re congested in terms of the amount of permits that are out there so we try to minimize that as much as possible. We’re doing the studies to see where bus operators are still on the road knowing that they’re not making money. We need to minimize those permits, but at the same time we know there are cases where there are standees. So we’re also doing those studies to look at the capacity to add those bus routes, so they are aware of that.”

Marion Ali

“At the end of the day, we’re not looking at a monopoly here, right?”

 

Marconi Leal, Jr.

“No, we’re definitely not looking at a monopoly and bus operators – that has been clarified – and there’s no instances where I could say that they would ever think about a monopoly because we’ve made that clear, that is not the purpose. The purpose is about looking at better bus standards and optimizing the bus schedules that we currently have.”


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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