The Department of Public Transportation (DPT) has flatly denied that six bus Sightseeing Coordinators have been made redundant.
Responding to the report published by Bermuda Real on February 19, the DPT also said there’s “nothing unusual” about the length of time it has taken to release the new bus landed in January into the general fleet.
When asked for a response, a DPT spokesman said: “No one has been made redundant.
“The Sightseeing Coordinator job description clearly places bus operator responsibilites first on the list of the main duties.
“The six Sightseeing Coordinators at DPT are currently fulfilling those duties.”
While noting that the “sightseeing service is temporarily suspended, because the Department does not have the necessary operable vehicles to offer the service”.
In April, it would be a full year since the last sightseeing tours were conducted on public buses.
What the spokesman did not offer an explanation as to why Sightseeing Coordinators were being paid at a rate for a job they were not required to do due to the current status of Bermuda’s ageing bus fleet.
However, the spokesman said: “The Sightseeing Coordinators have the choice of picking a roster, like every other bus operator, or being on ‘daily orders.
“Daily orders means they get assigned work three days in advance but it is subject to change without notice.”
A union spokesman said talks are underway with DPT officials and staff, but that the word ‘redundant’ to date, has never come up.
The DPT also said that contrary to the report, which said one of the bus operators is moving to an administrative supervisory position, the bus operator “will be training after successfully applying for a relief position”.
Apart from that, he said: “All have been on daily orders because they opted not to pick a roster, which is not unusual.
“Daily orders means that the work is posted three days prior and is subject to change. They are bus operators according to the job description, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement is clear that the choice of work is done on seniority.
“While the operators on daily orders do not choose assignments, the work is allocated in accordance to seniority.”
He also denied that the one new bus landed in January, that has yet to be released into the general fleet, remains “immobile”.
“The bus has not been immobile and there is nothing unusual about the steps being taken to its release into the general fleet.
“It is not in the interest of the public nor the Department to race the process. Preparations for the bus are proceeding according to safety measures and resources availability.”
He also denied that the bus is not only too long, but reportedly too tall.
The article also said “no drivers have been called on to test-run the new bus in training”.
On that note, the DPT spokesman said: “As per usual, the bus will be open to operators after it has been licensed and the applicable training has been completed.”
Either way, this coming Wednesday marks the end of February, which also marks a full month since that new bus arrived in Bermuda.
One month in and it remains parked. And in another month, it will be a full year since sightseeing tours were conducted by bus operators on public buses, with no word on what the plan is moving forward.
At this stage, the Sightseeing Coordinators are being paid as such for a job that to date, remains “temporarily suspended”.
Keep in mind that it took more than five years to get one new bus landed in Bermuda, after a $300,000 payment made to a man in Belgium, for a shipment that never materialised.