Here’s what they are saying: Extension of seating laws
February 5, 2004
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This follows a meeting between President Bharrat Jagdeo and minibus operators/owners from around the country on January 27. The minibus operators/owners had requested the meeting with the President to discuss their concerns about enforcing the seating capacity regulations. This enforcement will be on hold until such time as the law is revised.
Also at the meeting were Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj, Commissioner of Police (ag) Floyd Mc. Donald and Traffic Chief Superintendent Michael.
Buses were pulled off several routes over the implementation of the law which stipulates only 12 seats can be allowed in a mini-bus.
Overloading and ridership discomforts are some of the factors that caused the Traffic Department to clamp down on the seating capacity of the vehicles.
Regulation 150B of the Motor Vehicle Road Traffic Regulations speaks of the space between the rows of seats that is required by law.
The law states that there should be 19 inches between any part of the front of a seat and any other part of any seat, which faces it. Additional seats inserted by bus owners reduce the mandatory 19-inch space, creating an infringement of the regulation.
GINA’s cameras asked members of the public what they thought about of the President's intervention into the matter.
Mervin Wilson: I feel it is reasonable for the time being, that is, the decision made by President Jagdeo. I have seen from time to time people saying that he is the President for all and with the meeting with the mini-bus Association it was obvious. The mini-bus operators are being given a chance, until the Government can look into it and do something much better.
Andrew Semple: A grace period was given by the President and I think it was a good gesture, because if they had just started to implement the law it would have been chaos. At least now there is some compromise.
Denesh Singh: It was a good idea for the President to look into the seating capacity of the minibuses. He was looking into the interest of the people because it is a way of making a living.
Lawrence Forrester: President Jagdeo's meeting with the Mini-bus Association was a good move. And I think it was timely and appropriate because nobody seems to be able to do anything but the President. He made a timely decision at the most opportune time.
Nalini Rampersaud: It was a good gesture by his Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo to actually look into the matter with the seating capacity, and I hope positive results will come out of that matter when the grace period is over.
Nicole Durrant: I think it was a good idea by the President because everybody would have a more comfortable drive. His decision will ease a social problem.
Ramesh Seelall: With the President's intervention, I know a positive decision would be made, because he is the President for all and the welfare of the mini-bus drivers, conductors and owners will be looked after.
Dwayne Estwick: The President had a right to examine the situation of the mini-bus divers because he realised that it is a source of public transportation for many Guyanese. And I think it was a wise choice for him to personally look into the matter.