Remarks By Transport Minister Lawrence Scott

The Ministry of Transport strives to provide an environment where job creation and entrepreneurship in the transportation industry are favourable.

The importance of transportation in our community cannot be understated. Transportation enhances the reach of businesses, services, jobs, activities, goods, and productivity. It is vital for our tourism sector; for transporting visitors and moving them around the island – in essence, there is no tourism without transport.

The Ministry of Transport has been allocated a budget of $72.037 million.

One of the key initiatives that the Ministry Headquarters will focus on in 2022-2023 is the resumption of cruise calls to Bermuda. Our cruise line partners expect solid growth for Bermuda’s future, and currently, there are 177 scheduled calls for 2022. It is estimated that local cruise ship industry with cruise ships sailing at 50% occupancy in 2022, will equate to approximately $103m economic activity for Bermuda.

To support the movement of cruise passengers between Dockyard and St. George, the Ministry has budgeted for the Orange Route ferry for 2022-23. The Orange Route provides crucial connectivity between cruise ship passengers “where it all began” in St. George’s, allowing economic benefits for businesses, and cruise ship passengers alike to enjoy restaurants, souvenir shops, and attractions in the area.

Last year the Viking Orion’s Homeporting itinerary added a welcomed boost to our economy. Although, homeporting may not be achieved in this fiscal year, it is being actively pursued for the future by targeting boutique cruise lines with vessels that fit into all three ports of call around the Island, including WEDCO, St. George’s and Hamilton.

$4.4 million is budgeted for operations of the Transport Control Department. These funds will be used to maintain a high-quality customer experience. As a convenience to customers and a cost-savings measure, the Department aims to make all applications available online.

Additionally TCD will focus on modernising public service vehicles through a process that has commenced with consultation and feedback of key industry stakeholders, including minibuses, dispatchers, limos, and taxis. Phase I of this initiative includes proposed amendments to Motor Car legislation to improve the public service vehicles sector to ensure improved service, customer and driver safety, and consumer protection. The overarching aim is to strengthen the transportation support to meet the increased service demands in preparation for increased air and sea and cruise passenger arrival numbers and provide a level playing field to better deal with the continuing and inevitable changes and meet customers’ needs. It will also increase the likelihood of profitability for all public service vehicle operators while reducing key liabilities.

TCD will also continue delivering Operation Caution, the Government’s five-year Road Safety Strategy – 2018 to 2023.

One of the key deliverables of the Strategy in 2022-23 will be recommendations for enhancing the Project Ride Programme for students to gain on-road training. The Road Safety Council will continue education and awareness of good driving habits.

Operation Caution will be extended to 2024 to implement the intended enhancements which have yet to be achieved such as Stoplight Cameras and Project Ride training course.

As part of the Government commitment to transition the public bus fleet to non-fossil fuel environmentally friendlier vehicles, the Department of Public Transportation has budgeted to purchase up to fifteen additional electric buses and to complete the long- term bus charging infrastructure in preparation for a fully electrified bus fleet and continued facilities upgrade at the bus depot at Fort Langton.

During Covid-19, minibuses have been contracted to provide transportation specifically to get students directly to schools in a safe environment. As we transition to ‘learning to live with the virus’ and once the bus fleet reaches 88 operational buses, we will no longer provide independent transportation for school students.

Operating funds of $19.7 million for the Department of Marine and Ports Services and

$17.7 million for the Department of Public Transportation will allow both departments to deliver public transportation services and for Marine and Ports, legally obligated search and rescue and maritime services. Efficiencies have been found in both departments by reducing overtime and rechanneling resources to support the resumption of cruise calls, anticipated increased shipping traffic.

In 2022-23, the Ministry will implement further service reductions based on demand in the area of the Pink Route ferry. This route is known as the Hamilton/Paget/Warwick ferry and the published schedule services Lower Ferry, Hodson’s Ferry, Salt Kettle, Darrell’s Wharf and Belmont Ferry. The route has experienced low ridership for several years.

The Ministry of Transport will expand air service development. The aim is to position Bermuda for transformational change in the post COVID commercial aviation industry, aid economic recovery and enhance the lives of Bermuda residents. The Air Service Development Committee will expand current air service to protect our key gateway cities while simultaneously entering and expanding into new markets.

I have just provided a brief overview of what you can expect in our 2022-23 budget. In wrapping up, I want to reiterate that the Ministry of Transport focuses on providing an environment where job creation and entrepreneurship in the transportation industry are favourable, transporting our residents and visitors to the island, from the island, and around the island, safely.