While most of the 1,350 residents who have completed the public transportation survey are in support of the service, concerns are being raised about the potential revenue loss to existing taxi operators.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works Haley Trott has, however, said there is no need for concern.
“It is not going to be a government-run and operated bus service, so any taxi driver can say: ‘I am interested in this route, and I am willing to put my bid out and being responsible for covering this particular route’,” Trott said in an interview with BVI News on Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, the main purpose is to move people around and we are trying to get out of the days of hitchhiking and [into a system where residents] can rely on reliable bus service. So we don’t see that we would be taking bread out of the mouth of any taxi driver. There would still be that demand, and there will also be the opportunity for them to bid on routes,” she added.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary further said any decision being made will be done in conjunction with the public. She further said a meeting with the stakeholders in the local transportation-for-hire sector is on the horizon.
Most people support it
In the meantime, most persons are in support of the proposed system, Trott said.
“The general public is looking forward to it. They are very receptive, and they see the need. I think this is so because we are now able to attack Jost Van Dyke and Anegada and while the bus service is not likely to be implemented on any of those islands soon. What we realize is there are a lot of commuters, especially from Jost Van Dyke who come over. They get into West End, and they are catching rides to get to town,” Trott explained.
She said the ministry will, therefore, be seeking more feedback from residents of the sister islands. She told BVI News an official report will be drafted afterwards.
Survey launched in June
Since the survey’s launch in June, roughly 850 took the online survey while 500 were manually surveyed, Trott said.
According to Permanent Secretary in the said ministry, Jeremy Hodge, government’s objective is to reduce the congestion in the capital and make it more pedestrian-friendly.
Hodge said there would also be opportunities for partnerships between the Government and the private sector to construct bus stops.
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