About 12-seater minibuses What the People say about...
By Andre Haynes
Stabroek News
September 15, 2003

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The Police Traffic Department and the Licence and Registration Office have begun a campaign to ensure minibuses are only fitted with the legal twelve seats. This week we asked the man/woman-in-the-street for their thoughts on the seat reduction campaign.

Angela Wilkinson - student: `I think itís a good idea so people will feel more comfortable. Even on those buses which have fifteen seats they try to put four or five people on seats that are only supposed to hold three. It makes people feel uncomfortable and they still have to pay the same fare. Sometimes people speak out about it, but generally, especially the young people, they donít. Young people encourage it because some buses take in like forty people when they double-up. And they still have to pay the full fare. I think more traffic police need to be on the road to try to make sure that they only have twelve people on the buses.í

Frank Mohan - driver: ĎI agree with [the campaign] fully. Itís the law and itís better for passengers who donít have to be so crammed together. With the extra seats, on any impact they are squeezed together. The law says that there have to be certain dimensions for seating. And it wonít affect their collections because more minibuses will be able to load and you will be able to make more drops. I donít have anything to lose.í

Sharon Punch - teacher: ĎWell, I think it is a good idea by the traffic police to ensure that they only have twelve seats. But I think there will still be problems because the minibuses will continue to overload. When I travel in minibuses they are usually overloaded - well, except for the UG/Industry buses. But just remember that if an accident happens and you have so many people in the bus it means that more people could be injured.í

M. Glen - housewife: `Do you think it will reduce overcrowding? The boys will still pack up schoolgirls in the afternoon. It should only be twelve people because itís uncomfortable when you are sitting and they tell you to dress down for other people. I am paying my fare and I want to be comfortable. Still, I donít think the operators will stop overloading.í

Raymond Desaque - driver: ĎWell, some buses are short-spaced; they donít come with fifteen seats, they come with twelve. The dealers, they are the ones who put in the extra seats. My minibus is a fifteen-seat original and I would like to know what will happen to people like me. Will I have to reduce the number of seats? That is how the manufacturer made the minibus.í

Denzel Dillon - chef: ĎI think they should comply with the law and not make a bother about it. When I go into a minibus and they try to overload it I get out. If an accident occurs when youíre travelling in one of these buses, you canít expect to get any compensation because you knew it was overcrowded. Otherwise if the bus is carrying the legal amount of people, you might have to wait a little while but you might get something.í

P. Gangadeen: ĎEach passenger pays for a seat and they deserve to have their own. Right now operators have people, especially children, cramped in the minibuses. And you still have to pay the full fare for children although they try to put four on a seat. It should only be three, so I think it is something good that they are doing.í

Oswald Abrams - driver: ĎI donít think they should add more seats if the manufacturer only put in twelve. If the manufacturer made it with fifteen, leave it as it is because thatís how many people it is supposed to carry. If it is twelve they should carry twelve. Itís the passengerís safety first.í

Sharmila Williams - housewife: `I support it if it will do something about overloading. Most minibuses are always packed. Especially the [Route] 41 buses. The schoolgirls are always sitting on the conductorís lap and it doesnít look nice. That is one of the reasons that I wouldnít want my daughter to travel on minibuses.í

M. Salim - farmer: `[Minibus operators] should be obeying the law but sometimes when you go on these buses you are cramped. But some buses are spacious and some buses are tight. So tight sometimes your knees are always bracing against the seat in front of you. If the law says only twelve they should follow it.í

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