Fourteen bus mechanic positions were left vacant at the Department of Public Transportation (DPT) by the former One Bermuda Alliance government.
Outlining their legislative agenda for the parliamentary year, the new Progressive Labour Party administration said: “Government will invest in new buses and will immediately fill six vacant maintenance positions.”
While reading the PLP’s first new Throne Speech on Friday, Governor John Rankin said Bermuda’s ageing bus fleet presents challenges and frustrations for bus commuters daily.
“Residents who rely solely on public buses to get to and from work are severely impacted when a lack of available buses detrimentally affects the service, which in turn causes them to be late.
“The former government left 14 mechanic positions vacant, which caused the lack of sufficient buses to meet demand. In order to increase reliability of published routes, to instill confidence in the service, and to reduce overtime paid to repair ageing buses, the Government will invest in new buses and will immediately fill six vacant maintenance positions.”
The PLP will also “conduct a thorough review of transportation and will produce a Green Paper”. “Technology is modernising transportation globally, and Bermud must examine those trends when taking into account the future of public, private and public-service transportation,” said Governor Rankin.
“Bermuda is also modernising and is now home to three-wheeled vehicles, two-person rental cars, limousines and water taxis.
“The Government will conduct a thorough review of transportation and will produce a Green Paper on the future of transport in Bermuda that will provide various options for modernisation, which also takes into account the needs of the differently-abled,” he added.
In a two-part Bermuda Real series with Transport Minister Walter Roban last month, the Minister said the four new buses promised by former Minister Michael Fahy, were approved for purchase five years ago, in 2012, when Mr Roban was the Minister under the former PLP administration.
He was commenting on the recent spate of breakdowns, including six breakdowns in one day last month, when 72 out of a fleet of 105 buses were out of service, in what was described as a “severe shortage of equipment”.
The Minister also announced plans to use minibuses contracted by the Government to support the ageing bus fleet when public schools reopen next week.
- Photos Courtesy of DCI