Officials refine public transport rules
Guyana Chronicle
March 18, 2002

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THE Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, on Friday hosted a one-day seminar at the Ocean View International Hotel, Liliendaal, for persons operating within the public transport sector, particularly minibus operators and conductors.

The seminar, which was attended by minibus operators from various transportation zones, aimed at developing a framework from recommendations put forward for operators and conductors to work within the confines of the law and to provide a high quality of service to commuters.

In her opening remarks, Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ms. Andrea Johnson, noted that the seminar marked the observance of ‘World Consumers Awareness Day’.

She said that as consumer organisations around the world celebrated the day, it gave consumers the opportunity to assess the extent to which they have been able to achieve the basic rights that are considered essential for them.

The satisfaction of basic needs, safety, information, choice, representation, redress, consumer education and a healthy environment are among the rights consumers should demand. She noted that the theme, `Efficiency, Care, Consciousness and Courtesy’, was particularly fitting in this regard.

Johnson said that in this era of globalisation, the service sector can no longer remain customer-blind, but must be customer driven. She noted that with Guyana’s tourism sector expanding and gaining momentum, there would be greater demand for local transport services.

She added that the services provided would reflect the image of the country and therefore it is necessary for minibus drivers and conductors to operate in a manner that would bring it credit. They must not only ensure the safety of their passengers, but that of other road users as well, she pointed out.

“They must comply with the Care, Courtesy, Consideration, Commonsense and Caution (rule, and) they must comply with Section #166 of the motor vehicle and road traffic Act which deals with the conduct of drivers and conductors,” Johnson said.

She emphasised that drivers and conductors must comply with the four regulations of the Act which state that they must behave in a civil and orderly manner, must not smoke on their vehicles while transporting passengers, and during their course of duty, must always be neat and properly dressed.

The operators are required also to ensure the cleanliness and roadworthiness of their vehicles.

Johnson said the Ministry of Home Affairs is concerned about the continuing carnage on the roadways in recent times and will continue to work on initiatives to promote passenger safety.

“Currently, we are reviewing traffic legislation and pursuing its enactment relating to the use of seat belts, breath analysis equipment, radar to monitor speeding and also the use of certain types of musical equipment in vehicles,” she said.

Johnson said the Home Affairs Ministry is working on a project with the Ministry of Works regarding the installation and refurbishing of traffic signs, and with the Ministry of Education on traffic education in schools.

“These initiatives are gathering momentum as we strive to make Guyana a safe and just society,” she said.

However, Johnson said people need to recognise that among other rights, the right to safety is a basic right that must be enjoyed by all consumers and therefore all must be involved.

Facilitators at the seminar included Inter-American Development Bank, Ministry of Public Works, road safety consultant, Dr. Gowkarran Budhu, Ms. Evadne Fields of the Guyana National Bureau of Standards, the Guyana Consumers Association and the Guyana Police Force. - (JAIME HALL).