|Buses – early Christmas gift for Cashew Gardens |
By SASHA HARRINANAN Friday, October 18 2013
“AN EARLY Christmas present,” was how Cashew Gardens resident Avalon Guy, described Wednesday’s launch of two new bus services between the bustling town of Chaguanas and the residential areas of Cashew Gardens and Edinburgh 500.
Although the buses won’t start operating in the area until next Monday morning, Guy welcomed the decision of the Public Service Transport Corporation (PTSC) to add these routes.
“I first began asking for a service between Chaguanas and Cashew Gardens in March 2010. I want to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation to PTSC’s Deputy GM of Operations, Brian Juanette, and Caroni Central MP, Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, for making this a reality. No longer would we have to pay exorbitant fees to hire a car.” The fare, one-way, on the PTSC bus service will be $3.
The launch ceremony was held at the National Development Centre in Carlsen Field, following which several residents accompanied Ramadharsingh, Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz and several PTSC officials on a ride along the new Chaguanas/Carlsen Field/Edinburgh 500 route.
Guy, who serves as Welfare Officer of the Cashew Gardens Organisation, told Newsday there are no official taxis services in her neighbourhood, so residents have to use private hire (PH) taxis.
“They charge $5 one-way to Chaguanas in the day and $10 after 10 pm. If you need to hire a car to get to the town, is $50 round trip during the week and $150 on a weekend. That’s why I lobbied so long for this bus service. Now we will have a reliable, affordable means of getting around.”
Noting the PTSC currently serves 900,000 commuters monthly, the company’s General Manager Ronald Forde hailed the new routes as a positive sign for Trinidad and Tobago’s future development.
“When citizens have access to reliable, safe and affordable public transportation systems, the man -hours lost in traffic jams are reduced and productivity is increased. These initiatives (new bus routes) serve to improve TT’s position on the Global Competitiveness Index, which is an impetus to propel an influx of foreign investment.”
Meanwhile, the Transport Minister has pledged to make the bus service so reliable, commuters would be able to set their watches by it.
“We’re going to ensure that when a bus is scheduled to leave at 6 am, it leaves at 6 am, not 6.01 am, 6.02 am, 6 am.”
Cadiz also pledged to resume the Park and Ride initiative in Port-of-Spain (PoS), which saw motorists parking in the paved area of the Queen’s Park Savannah and taking a bus shuttle service to downtown PoS.
“We will have consultation prior to the implementation of any wrecking in downtown, and we will be determining if the Park and Ride service would work in San Fernando and Chaguanas.”