A deeper look at the seatbelt issue is necessary
January 28, 2004
I AM a Guyanese who advocates that the Government of the day should be allowed to govern. But that position is tempered by the posture that the ordinary citizen must feel convinced that his legitimate interests are taken for granted.
If what is being bandied around on the current 15-seat issue is accurate then a deeper look is necessary. Far be it form me to see the political reason for enforcing a law made in the 1960's in today's context. But as a layman who uses the minibus from time to time, I would ask whoever is pushing enforcement to consider the following:
1. The physical construct of the seating arrangement in minibuses makes too much
Legroom dangerous. The seat themselves are no wider that 12 inches and a passenger stays in place (in event of a sudden stops which happen very frequently) because his knees are against the back of the seat immediately in front of him. Were this space to be increased the passenger will be thrown into the seat in front by share momentum.
2. Bus owners target a certain income each day. Reducing the seat capacity will force an extra tip in the same time frame, thus increasing speeding and all the attendant possibilities.
3. There are about 2000 buses on the roads employing about the same number of conductors and perhaps more if some buses work double shift. What will happen to these people and their families if reducing seating capacity to 12 result in buses operating without conductors?
4. Legislation are enacted to treat specific problems at specific times. Laws Outgrown themselves and that is why we have amendments as circumstances vary. When the legislation in question was enacted the transportation industry did not have the significant number of mini-buses, if any, that it has today.
It seems that the matter needs a wider involvement since no only minibus owners, drivers and conductors are upset, but commuters as well as the economy itself are affected.
I am sure that of greater concern to the majority of citizens are the boom boxes and the disheveled state in which drivers and conductors ply their trade. Unfortunately, the law as it relates of these two areas are not enforced as it should. The overloading of buses also needs closer monitoring.