When ADO buses started running from Belize City to Cancun and Merida in August 2011 - there were concerns in the public transport industry that the luxury buses would try to squeeze in on the local market, and take away passengers from the buses which run the northern routes. But those fears were never substantiated because the ADO buses ran straight to the Mexican side of the border.

But, five years later, those same fears have resurged. According to the Belize Bus Owners Cooperative's workers, the ADO bus is jeopardizing their business by running during their paid run. That caused a commotion this morning when the BBOC tried to stop them from leaving the terminal. 7News was on the scene from before the commotion started and Courtney Weatherburne has the story:...

Courtney Weatherburne reporting
Today started off as a usual Friday morning at the terminal. The bus lines were picking up passengers and making their routine runs.

All except for BBOC whose chairman and workers had a different plan set up, one the police quickly got word of.

The commotion started here when BBOC workers tried to block the passengers from getting on the ADO bus. They say this Mexican operated company is taking over their 11:00 Chetumal runs, and they aren't having it.

Darwin Kelly, Chairman, BBOC
"So every time they put in someone who's a foreigner in our run, their robbing our revenue, our money we're supposed to make to feed our kids, the foreign bus is coming in and taking it. When the bus moves from out of the terminal, that is one person less for me. We the corporative pays for our 11 o clock permit, we paid the government for that, so how can they put in another bus on that slot at the same time? And it's a foreigner. We cannot stand for no more, we cannot take it no more."

And to get that message across, this BBOC bus driver took it to another level, he parked in front of the exit gate and ran off with the keys.

That is when the ADO bus just diverted towards the other gate but the workers were prepared for that move too. About 15 BBOC bus operators huddled right in front of the bus, refusing to move

Jacquline Bonell, Bus Conductor, BBOC
"We cannot even break down in Chetumal because they'll impound our bus and now they will come and do what they want. We already have the Guatemalan bus coming from western boarder to the Mexican border coming to the water taxi with green license plate. Come on, we need to put down our feet, what will happen to us next?"

Courtney Weatherburne, 7News
"And this will impact your livelihood, just tell me about that."

Jacquline Bonell, Bus Conductor, BBOC
"It will because it takes a toll on the 11 o'clock run. These passengers that are in there could have been on our bus, our BBOC bus."

And seemingly distant from the issue, the ADO bus driver and his passengers are impatiently looking on.

And some in authority did show up alright, just not in the form the workers expected….as the police opened the back of the truck, the show was over.

The worker was then driven away in the pan of the police truck down West Collet Canal Street.

The police then took over the scene and made the way for the ADO bus. ..It certainly wasn't the outcome the BBOC operators wanted, but the Chairman told us that today is just the start of the fight for justice and their livelihood.

Darwin Kelly, Chairman, BBOC
"Wherever Mr. Castro is, we're asking him to please come meet with us and make us solve the problem."

Courtney Weatherburne, 7News
"I spoke with him over the phone just now and he's saying he's not coming out here and for you all to go to the board."

Darwin Kelly, Chairman, BBOC
"Well we'll be out here."

When we spoke to Transport Minister Edmond Castro today, he told us that the BBOC workers are overreacting because the ADO buses will not interrupt or affect their local runs. They will indeed be running in the morning, but he says the clientele is different.

Channel 7

Bus Wars Erupt; Driver Charged as Bus Cooperative Goes to War with ADO

The Belize Bus Owners Cooperative (BBOC) and ADO bus company of Mexico have escalated a rivalry over a key bus run in the North of Belize. Beginning this morning, ADO, which runs a special night service between Belize City and Cancun and Merida, Mexico is operating an eleven a.m. run on the same route; but B.B.O.C. accuses the Mexican giants of treating their special express run like a regular run, stopping to pick up and drop off passengers. Today they decided to fight back – and found themselves on the wrong side of the law. This afternoon Senior Superintendent Alden Dawson, Deputy Regional Commander for Eastern Division South, filled in the blanks.

Alden Dawson

Sr. Supt. Alden Dawson, Dep. Regional Commander, Eastern Division South

“Sometime after eleven this morning, I was called at my office, stating there was some issue with the B.B.O.C. bus drivers. I proceeded to that location and upon my arrival I noticed that a bus was parked at the exit of the terminal and there was no driver inside the bus. I made checks I spoke to the officers who were there and I learned at that time that they had some misunderstanding and they did not want the ADO bus to depart the compound. I spoke to the person who was standing in front of the ADO bus, who were employees of the B.B.O.C., and for the most part the majority cooperated and moved from in front of the bus. We had one person who we had to arrest, because he was not cooperating with us, and we subsequently moved the bus causing the obstruction – the buses, actually, it was two of them – and the ADO bus went on its way.”

The police impounded the buses in question at the Militia Hall on the George Price Highway. The daily runs are expected to continue on Saturday.

Channel 5