Mini-bus stakeout
Guyana Chronicle
January 27, 2002

AS PART of our ongoing focus on the causes of death on the roads, we decided to commission a pilot study of traffic in the Georgetown area.

As the resources for a detailed and scientific traffic survey require technical equipment and personnel trained in their use, such a survey was beyond our resources. Detailed, professional surveys are for governments to undertake.

However, it was possible for us to investigate one of the major causes of road deaths - the mini-bus.

We decided to carry out a study of mini-bus activity and to assess the three most important factors: speed; driver skill and driver attitude, and one slightly lesser factor: noise.

As this would not be a truly scientific study, we needed to be both impartial and honest in our assessment. We were fortunate in finding someone who drives regularly in our city, yet has more than 25 years of international driving experience - from riding scooters to driving cars, vans, trucks - and licensed buses.

Our observer spent one day in observing during periods of typical road use (non rush hour). Observations covered two hours per day (10:00-11:00 hrs and 14:00-15:00 hrs).

Four known dangerous locations were observed; they were:
1. Carifesta Road, Clive Lloyd Drive Public Road intersection.

2. Vlissengen Road (Kitty).

3. Vlissengen Road (1763 Monument).

4. Upper Regent Street.

No attempt was made to observe every bus. A bus approaching the observer was selected once it appeared at the furthest possible distance away, and was watched until it had passed from view moving away from the observer. Another approaching bus was then immediately chosen from where the previous bus had disappeared from view.

We assessed drivers as follows:
1. Speed: were buses travelling between 30/40 mph; 40/50 mph; 50/60 mph or over 60 mph?

2. Driver Skill: Were drivers demonstrating skills that could be categorised as cautious, reasonable or dangerous?

3. Driver attitude: was the driver's attitude to others on the road (drivers and pedestrians) considerate, reasonable or aggressive?

4. Noise: our observer was positioned at least 75 metres from the traffic: if the noise from inside a bus could be heard it was classified Loud; if heard clearly it was classified Very Loud.

5. We also recorded a number of remarkable examples of road user activities.



Carifesta Road, Clive Lloyd, Drive Public Road intersection

Total number of buses observed: 308

186 (60%) faster than 50 mph. 68 (22%) faster than 60 mph.

Vlissengen Road. (Kitty)

Total number of buses observed: 434

232 (53%) faster than 50 mph. 74 (17%) faster than 60 mph

Vlissengen Road. (Monument)

Total number of buses observed: 262

104 (40%) faster than 50 mph. 30 (12%) faster than 60 mph

Regent Street. (upper)

Total number of buses observed: 348

130 (37%) faster than 50 mph. 28 (8%) faster than 60 mph

Carifesta Road, Clive Lloyd Drive, Public Road intersection

105 drivers (34%) categorised as dangerous.

Vlissengen Road. (Kitty)

165 drivers (38%) categorised as dangerous.

Vlissengen Road. (Monument)

79 drivers (30%) categorised as dangerous.

Regent Street. (upper)

77 drivers (22%) categorised as dangerous.


Carifesta Road, Clive Lloyd Drive, Public Road intersection

119 drivers (39%) categorised as aggressive.

Vlissengen Road. (Kitty)

180 drivers (41%) categorised as aggressive.

Vlissengen Road. (Monument)

86 drivers (33%) categorised as aggressive.

Regent Street. (upper)

149 drivers (43%) categorised as aggressive.

Coincidentally, both Loud and Very Loud totals were 306.

Thus, out of a total of 1,353 buses observed, 612 (45%) were categorised as noisy.

1. The two most dangerous acts observed were by police drivers.

A police Landrover drove at high speed through the Carifesta Road, Clive Lloyd, Drive Public Road intersection. At the time there were six other vehicles at the intersection.

The driver was a young man. There were no passengers in the Landrover.

A policeman on a motorbike (not a police motorbike) overtook a line of traffic; on the wrong side of the road for at least 150 metres; against oncoming traffic.

2. The most dangerously driven vehicles observed were large, powerful 4WD's.

These were almost always driven recklessly and aggressively. Surprisingly, these vehicles were quite often very dangerously driven by women.

3. A man with three children on a scooter; with no helmets.

4. Six men standing on the back of a small open truck; travelling at at least 60 mph; overtaking traffic.

5. Two scooters side by side; four people looking and talking to each other; no helmets; almost ran into rear of stationary car.

6. Numerous incidences of cyclists on the wrong side of the road; moving against the flow of traffic; often carrying children.