COVID-19 protocols under review for the transport sector
A possible relaxation of COVID-19 protocols in the transport sector could be realized soon, said Transport Minister Stephenson King.
The carrying capacity of a minibus has been reduced to ten passengers as part of various policy measures implemented by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19 following a deadly epidemic on the island.
In addition to reducing capacity, passengers are required to wear face masks and disinfect themselves before boarding the bus.
The motion received mixed reviews from minibus operators both for and against the idea.
Some drivers argue that the protocols guiding the transport sector have had a negative impact on their cash flow, calling for reinstatement to carry a full load or get a stay from the government.
The island’s transport minister said plans to keep the buses running at full capacity are in the works.
Minister King said: âNow that the COVID numbers have dropped, I think this is a suitable opportunity to negotiate again with the Department of Health, the chief medical officer, in the hope of getting them to rise. Numbers. “
âUnfortunately, throughout the two years they lost income, even though the government promised to help them. But we think maybe if the right protocols are followed and respected, and as a result of the many meetings that I have had with them, they are engaged. I am convinced that the commitment that the NCOPT (National Council of Public Transport) gave that they will be able to maintain it, âhe continued.
The minibus operators are also asking the government to pay them the amounts owed to them.
According to King, there are issues that need to be addressed in order for payment to be made to the drivers.
âWe were working on this,â King said.
He explained that the question was which entity would make the payment to the minibus operators, be it the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Infrastructure or the Ministry of Equity.
âBecause the Ministry of Finance considers that it is a question of social assistance and that it should therefore be sent to the Ministry of Equity. So now arrangements have been made as to how the payment will be made. Previously, payments were made in a lump sum; however, on this occasion, we suggest that they be paid individually to the different minibus operators, âsaid the Minister.