BVI News

Slow start but govt’s conditional shuttle service gaining momentum

Despite a slow start to government’s free Park & Ride shuttle service which officially got underway a week ago, one local dispatcher is reporting that the initiative is quickly gaining momentum.  

“The first few days we were still trying to get the word out. The third and fourth day, more and more people started to become aware of it, and yes they were taking advantage of it,” the shuttle operator Julio ‘Sam’ Henry told BVI News at the weekend.

“We have a culture of convenience, so if it seems to be an inconvenience to them (residents), they are not going to do it. But the challenge is when the government starts to force individuals to pay for parking spaces in town, it might be more convenient for them to take the Park & Ride,” added Henry, who said the service is not without its challenges.

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the shuttles are only allowed to carry half of their capacity.

Henry said, “there is a sitting configuration when you get on the buses so it limits the number of people that get on and where a customer should sit”.

A total of 12 shuttle operators are currently engaged in providing the service. Six operate one route and another six operates the other route. Henry explained that since shuttles are scheduled to leave the various designated standpoints every 15 minutes, two shuttles simultaneously start a route so passengers are properly serviced.

Regular taxis still make money

He further said the initiative — which allows residents to taxi free of charge to 41 locations between 6 am and 6 pm on weekdays — operates on two strict routes and persons are only allowed to board under certain conditions.

“For example, persons who are carrying extra loads in trying to get from let’s say, Rite Way or OneMart to their home, their home might be in Purcell, or Huntums Ghut. They are not permitted to get on the shuttle because they have too much stuff and would constitute them hiring a taxi and we don’t go off the route. So if somebody is just hopping off, let’s say they have groceries, they have a small bag or something in their hands, or they grab lunch, they can get on the shuttle,” he explained.

“So the [regular] taxi stands still make money. With my taxi stand, the BVI Taxi Association, we had about on average 25 to 30 calls each day for the week. It seems to be working itself out,” he added.

Identifying the shuttles

To identify the shuttles, residents are required to look out for the signs to the front or either side of these buses.

The signs don’t only indicate what buses provide the service but also indicates which routes they operate. There is a ‘yellow route’ and a ‘green route’ and buses will either be marked with the letters ‘G’ for green or ‘Y’ yellow.

READ: Shuttle routes and designated stops

Minister of Transportation, Kye Rymer said the service is a part of government’s efforts to create a pedestrian-friendly Road Town. The service is offered as a COVID-19 economic stimulus package to taxi operators who drive the respective shuttle buses.

The value of the taxi stimulus is one million dollars.

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12 Comments

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  1. HUH! says:

    There is not much sympathy for the taxi drivers locally – and I suspect that they will all lose interest next time a cruise ship comes in.
    A number of the older taxi drivers still seem to be struggling with the new one way system. Maybe they should have some special training to help them.
    Next time we introduce a one way system, the taxis (especially for any drivers over 65 – ie most of them) should be excluded from the new one way system and permitted to drive the old route for an additional month after the one way system is introduced to allow them to observe and get used to it.

    Like 3
    Dislike 18
    • Lodger says:

      Oh yeah? This is like the joke when the Irish changed from right to left hand driving. The first week only cars and buses changed. The second week was to be trucks, bikes etc……..

  2. blind man says:

    Cant you all see the place is dead? That’s why the traffic is running so smoothly because we have no ships in port, no schools and an empty government complex but wait, time will te!!

    Like 17
    Dislike 5
  3. manasser says:

    They need proper buses

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  4. Overseas says:

    How is it really going BVI?

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  5. OIC says:

    Pay for parking going to force us to use shuttle???

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
    • BuzzBvi says:

      Shuttle is only one way if you purchase anything!

    • Charley Rose says:

      I am impressed with the flow of traffic in Road Town Tortola. The .minister Khy Rhymer must be commended for the initiative. I wished Honourable Omar Wallace Hodge was alive to see his vision of a Metropolitan city with the fleet of vehicles on Waterfront drive. It looks like Atlanta or New York city.

  6. No nonsense says:

    Some body is about to get killed on the crosswalk opposite UMI fashion!!

  7. LOL says:

    Momentum what!!! What studies were done to determine the viability of this? The only times this will work are Festival and Christmas time, that’s it. This is pure nonsense!

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  8. YOUTH says:

    I love this initiative

  9. Hitch says:

    Dem need some real big coaster busses

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