The Brazilian bus company had failed
Stabroek News
February 8, 2002

Dear Editor,

I have noted the increasing calls in these pages for government to deal with the minibus issues with a firm hand. Elsewhere, I have heard entreaties by embattled citizens for government to bring back the "big buses", in order to provide orderly scheduled service. Lest we forget, in 1993 a Brazilian company began long distance service throughout Guyana and brought in their own full sized buses. Ultimately, they were unable to compete with the minibus' "on demand" service and in desperation, resorted to competing for city routes with the faster, more frequent minibus service. Ultimately they were forced to shut down and sell off their stock of buses to Jamaica, as I recall.

The economists will better explain the reasons for this company's demise, but I will suggest that we all remember that it was a failed enterprise. It would also be useful to remember the lessons learned from the establishment and subsequent failure of government owned and operated service in prior years, before we jump off the deep end again.

However, the minibus industry must recognize that the time has come for them to subject themselves to some forms of self regulation. It makes sense as a pre emptive measure to ensure the safety and comfort of their paying customers and to restore goodwill and public confidence in the industry. Their failure to do so will hand the imperative back to a government that is under increasing pressure to act. In that case bus owners will have to rely on government's ability to enact coherent legislation that is fair and does not restrain operators' ability to ply their trade. So the industry has little choice but to regulate itself. Anything less would be suicidal.

Yours faithfully,

Gordon Burnett