Should the big buses be brought back? What the people say about...
By Miranda La Rose with Aubrey Crawford
Stabroek News
February 11, 2002

Should we bring back the big buses for public transportation? Why and why not? This was the question we posed to the man/woman-in-the street this week in the wake of the recent strike by mini-bus operators and dissatisfaction with their service. Their views follow.

Estelle Gregory - housewife: `Yes, I think some private operator or operators should bring back the big buses. In the past we had no problems with them. We had no boom-boom boxes and all the problems that go with it. There were bus stops and the bus stopped in an orderly fashion. To me the young people are not driving the mini-buses responsibly. Big buses should be able to solve half of the problems, such accidents and noise nuisance.'

Jevita: `Yes, I like the idea of encouraging the reintroduction of the big buses. Government should invite investors to operate the transportation system using 26-seater to 50-seater buses and grant them duty-free concessions on spares and accessories. Government should also give mini-bus operators notice of the operation of the bigger buses on some routes. In this way government and the private sector would be working jointly to make the roads safer as well as improve the transportation system.'

Edwin Glenn - teacher: `I don't believe in big or small buses. Pressure should be placed on the owners to see that their employees show respect for passengers and the law. I objected to the lewd lyrics being played in a mini-bus while travelling and a driver stopped the bus and I was asked to get off. Owners should be penalised for the attitudes and behaviour of their employees as well. The size of the buses should not matter. It should be the quality of the service that matters.'

Mortimer Yearwood - businessman: `Yes, I would support the re-introduction of the big buses to be part of the public transportation network. Seven to ten years ago I had my own mini-buses and apart from the first one or two years in the life of a mini-bus when it is profitable it becomes expensive running it on the road after that. We need bigger units and the cost of upkeeping it remains basically the same as the mini-bus. The numerous mini-buses are also cluttering up the roads adding to traffic congestion. If I had the money I would invest in the 50-seater buses. They are also safer to travel than the faster mini-buses.'

Devina Joe - student: `No, I don't like the idea of the introduction of the big buses. They are too slow. I have travelled in big buses and I find them boring, too. They may be comfortable but they stop too many times and if you want to get somewhere in a hurry you'll be late.'

Ovid Stewart - overseas-based Guyanese: `The private sector should bring back the big buses but its reintroduction has to be a joint venture between the government and the private sector. Government will be responsible for the infrastructure such as the roads and putting the routes and laws in place governing their operation. The reintroduction should help to cut down on road fatalities as well as lower transportation costs. The main thing is that government will have to support such a venture. There is need for 25-seater and bigger buses. In addition, some buses should be labelled school buses during the peak hours to get children to and from school safely. So parents sending children to school will feel better knowing that school children are being catered for.'

Gowradai Pooran - student: `I prefer the big buses for students in particular. I think they are safer and the drivers will not be allowed to speed and play music as loudly as the mini-buses now do. The mini-buses are responsible for the many accidents and many schoolchildren have lost their lives in mini-buses because we have no choice of the means of transportation. Even though they are slower, the big buses would be safer. Safety should be the main factor.'

Carlosa Pluck - legal clerk: `I would support the re-introduction of the buses. It would give mini-bus operators competition. The mini-bus operators should then take cognisance of the fact that they are not dispensable and would treat passengers better. Bringing back the big buses would be a step towards improving public transportation.'

Vishal - `No. I don't think we should bring back the big buses. We already have too many vehicles on the street. I don't feel the big buses would be as effective as the mini-buses. The mini-buses will stop wherever you want it to but the big buses will only be allowed to stop at bus stops. It will also be too slow.'

Wilfred Sage - private sector employee: `I would support the re-introduction of big buses. They would help to make the roads safer and help to save lives. It could also help in making the transportation system, such as zoning and routes, more organised and consideration could be given to senior citizens to travel with permits either at a reduced cost or free of cost. They could operate along the main highways and main roads in the city. Mini-buses could operate as shuttles. Even schedules could be arranged so people could plan and know if they'll get to their destinations or appointments on time. It will cut down on the lawlessness we are experiencing with the mini-buses right now. It will even help in phasing out some of the mini-buses.'

Vickey Singh - businessman: `Bring back the big buses. They would keep down the hustle and hassle we experience with public transportation. Putting them to work on schedule will also help people to get to work on time. Right now mini-bus operators feel that because we are dependent on them for public transportation they can do anything they like. I think the reintroduction will help to bring back order on the streets, reduce road accidents and road fatality as well as reduce the cost of transportation.'