MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT MEETS WITH NORTHERN BUS OPERATORS
Manuela Ayuso Cantun reporting.....
The Ministry of Transport met over the weekend with bus operators of the north to determine bus routes and bus schedules for the northern part of the country. An injunction which was placed against the Ministry of Transport did not allow the implementation of the ministry’s zoning in this area, but when that was lifted last Thursday, the Ministry jumped into action. Transport Minister Melvin Hulse says meeting with the bus operators was the first step to getting an idea of what is actually taking place on the ground.
Melvin Hulse – Minister of Transport
“There will be no more racing, and we definitely want to avoid that atrocious condition where people were overloaded. One of the things that will help, is that two of the Village runs from Orange Walk and Sarteneja will be able to go straight through to Belize, bypassing Orange walk Town and too there will now be people who will be doing Village runs from Crooked Tree and that is where a lot of the people come from, there will be Village runs out of Sandhill, Maskall, Maxboro, Los Lagos. We already have Ladyville, so that will take out the leaving behind of a lot of people. And I see from the volume of buses that runs in the North, I see that we just need to fine tune Operation. I see this being one of the easier areas to regulate because they already have so many buses.”
The zoning idea should address several of the issues that commuters have raised over the years.
Melvin Hulse – Minister of Transport
“We went through clearly what is the definition and terms and condition of our zone, how it operates, the conduct of bus Conductors, the role that the Terminal Managers play in the enforcement of the zoning, and also we have given them an opportunity to look at the proposed draft to see, because in spite of us having contacted people and got a sense of the actuality of what is happening on the ground and the hours. This first meeting is for them who have been doing this, to let us get a sense of, if we are missing, if we need to ensure that we don't have too many buses on the road, but we need to ensure that there is an adequate amount of buses for the commuter, and so far it looks like there will be a need for about 58 buses, doing from Santa Elena to Belize on a daily basis, exclusive of the Village runs.”
Orange Walk commuters are challenged with the inconvenience of not having a bus terminal. We asked Hulse how the Ministry plans to address this situation.
Melvin Hulse- Minister of Transport
“The Ministry did not inherit any Terminal in Orange Walk. What we are trying to do is several things simultaneously. We are trying to get the Ministry of Works Compound built in San Juan, which would really take them out of Orange Walk, and use the current Ministry of Works Compound as a terminal. In the interim period we'll be asking Atlantic Bank who owns a piece of empty property here, if we could rent or lease it from them where we could put in probably a Mennonite house and Office and consolidate everything and take them off the street. So the Chief Transport office is in constant communication with Atlantic Bank Managers so we could rent that property in the mean time, because we have to find some temporary source or venue that we can use because we cannot continue to have them on the street. It makes no sense at all."
Hulse says by the 1st of April, a temporary Terminal should be in place while the funding is being sought to construct a Terminal at the Ministry of Works Compound in Orange Walk Town. Bus operators of the North will meet again this coming Saturday to discuss the Bus schedules.