Minibus drivers should not work more than five hours continuously
Stabroek News
February 14, 2002

Dear Editor,

I have in the past made recommendations via the print media and by letters to each member of the Cabinet on solutions to the traffic problem. However, since I am not a representative of a rich foreign government, my ideas seem to have ended up in the wastepaper basket.

Notwithstanding what has happened in the past the following is an abridged form of my ideas.

(1) The current Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act of Guyana is not being fully implemented/enforced by the police. For example, the mini bus comes under the regulations governing the operation of a Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV). These regulations say among other things:

(a) The Operator's (owner's) Licence could be suspended or withdrawn for breaches of these regulations.

This does not happen. It is always the driver who is charged, and in many cases, the driver is not the owner. The owner sets financial targets which the driver in an attempt to meet breaks the traffic regulations. The owner is thus guilty of "aiding and abetting" and should be charged jointly and severally with the driver. But since the owner might be an "untouchable", the police constables over the years have been taking no chances, so they go after only drivers.

(b) The driver of a PSV should not drive for more than five and a half hours continuously. Continuous driving is described as actual driving plus time spent in working in or on in connection with the vehicle. Thus touting for passengers forms part of the definition of continuous driving. You see why mini buses are involved in so many accidents, drivers are suffering from fatigue. If this regulation were to be applied, mini buses would become uneconomical to operate.

(c) Mini Buses cannot adequately deal with the mass transportation problem. The standard (big) bus is required. Mini buses however have a role to play.

(d) The cut throat competition that now exists among mini bus owners leads to reckless driving, poor maintenance and thus unsafe vehicles on the roads.

(e) The police should not be involved in regulating and policing.

(f) There should be a limited number of buses per route, rates controlled, and the actual number of buses per route should be determined by the area mini bus association, the users committee and the Minister responsible.

(g) There are too many Ministers responsible for transport in Guyana; hence there is no coordinated approach to the transport problem in general.

(h) The Minister responsible for road construction is not responsible for road transport, but he is responsible for riverain and coastal transport.

Yours faithfully,

Albert Adams