Newly appointed Transport Minister Michael Fahy will meet with public transport, tourism and Wedco officials today to thrash out capacity issues to transport thousands of cruise ship passengers to and from Dockyard.
This after several complaints lodged by east bound west end residents left stranded when buses leave Dockyard packed to capacity with tourists and repeatedly pass them by.
Bermuda Real filed a list of questions to the Minister last week regarding the seasonal issue, following complaints from residents who ended up late for work and senior citizens left stranded at bus stops.
The Minister responded last night, and said a statement will be released after the meeting later today.
“We received about half a dozen complaints but we are aware of the issue and I am meeting with Wedco, Public Transportation Board and the Bermuda Tourism Authority on Monday to find a solution,” said Senator Fahy.
Asked whether there were still an estimated 60 buses out of service and in need of repairs, he said there are “roughly 35 buses” out of service not 60.
We also asked how many buses are leased via cruise ship agents for sightseeing tours as opposed to using mini buses in the private sector and why are agents not booking mini buses especially when locals are being left stranded.
The Minister replied: “I believe five buses are used for tours, but I am taking a fresh look as to the use of PTB buses for sightseeing.” but one driver told Bermuda Real last week that at least 13 buses are booked for sightseeing tours when the biggest cruise ship is in port.
The Minister told Bermuda Real that other options include “commencing a bus route away from the cruise terminal” as buses are fully loaded when they leave Dockyard, leaving no room for local residents.
Senator Fahy noted that buses are “public service vehicles” for “both residents and tourists” and “tourist are paying passengers” as well.
Bermuda Real also asked if 10,000 tourists pose problems on any given day now, how does Government plan to handle the heavy anticipated influx of visitors for the America’s Cup in 2017.
he Minister replied; “I do not believe it is a problem. There will be times it is not perfect and we will react accordingly. We are working on a comprehensive plan for the AC.”
We will bring you the Minister’s statement after that meeting when it becomes available. A statement from the Bermuda Industrial Union’s Bus Division is still pending.
By Ceola Wilson