Tonight a Benque Viejo-based bus line is under pressure - after one of their drivers was caught on cell phone camera driving recklessly on the George Price Highway.
Now, for commuters, this type of Mad Max driving is nothing new - it's par for the course between competing bus lines. And all commuters can do is say a prayer and hold unto the edges of their seats. That's because enforcement on the highways is, at best, lax, and rash bus drivers rule the roadways with demolition derby antics. But, this time, on Wednesday morning coming out of Belmopan someone caught it on camera. Jules Vasquez reviewed the shocking video:...
Jules Vasquez reporting
The video shows a Sylvan Bus trying to over take a J and J bus - both of them eastbound to Belize City. The J and J driver is deliberately hogging the road - using two lanes - so the Sylvan cannot overtake him.
When this Coke Truck over-takes the J and J - the Sylvan tries to squeeze in behind it - but the J and J bus then lurches back into the middle of the road.
And to show himself: the J and J driver pulls on his brakes and burns his tires on the road - just a few feet from the Sylvan bus. Great fun if you are 6 years old - but really troubling behaviour for a public bus with passengers on board.
Bus driver - Sylvan Bus "They are playing with people's lives out here."
Undeterred, the driver continues to exhibit this wild and lawless behaviour - and here he is at the Cotton Tree bus stop literally parked across the entire road so that the Sylvian Bus cannot pass.
And here's the pot of gold at the end of this crazy ride - being first to the stop, he gets the majority of the commuters - who are already so used to this lawlessness on the road that they hop unto the J and J bus without even thinking of the driver who willfully endangers everyone's life.
This is a video here showing what's happening every single morning with J &J Bus Line on the road. This happend this morning before Rio Coco.
These people don't have conscience honestly they don't give a dam about peoples lives. They think that this is a game playing on the road daily daily.... hanging on the other busses schedule then when they see that the bus is behind the drive on the other side of the road not letting the other one go and overtake them. Just because they feel like doing it. Then when they see people thats how they park blocking the whole highway so that they would pick up the passengers. People from those areas Cotton Tree and St. Matthews are aware of what'shappening there they pass through this daily.
We don't have to stay a bit on the terminal passing our time because of them so that we don't meet them on cotton tree or before. We don't need to heng it's just because of them. If they would run on their time everything would be good, people would come out daily and this wouldn't be happening. We cannot heng like them we run on our time we have passengers that need to arrive to their destinations safely and on time. So we have to go but as we meet them this is what they do blocking the whole street and then pressing brake so that we would crash onto them.... so sad that this has to happen just because of stupid drivers that don't think they don't have common sense. Honestly this wouldn't be happening if we would have transport out there daily early in the morning early as the first bus suppose to reach belmopan and checking daily.
One of these days a big tragedy will happen if they don't do something with these 2 busses that run daily in the morning from Benque to Belize City. Plus the owner not giving a dam abou what his drivers are doing just letting them do as they as they please.
These J & J take everything as a joke, either they run on there time or revoke there permits simple as that. Too many complaints of them but nothing done to fix up the problem.....
We can prevent it...
Gringa Nadima, Benque Viejo, Belize
Transport Is Swift With Decision To Suspend
And the video is so disturbing that the Department of transport had to respond with urgency. The Transport Board met today and this afternoon the Chief Transport Officer said that the bus line's road service permit has been suspended and the driver will be charged:...
Tirso Galvez, Chef Transport Officer "Type of behavior could have lead into a serious fatal accident, both having passengers from both busses and other road users getting injured or ending as I said with fatal injuries."
"The board has decided that the suspension would be for a month and that the suspension for that company and the two runs that that company has and the board will be providing another bus service to provide that service."
"As far as the driver is concern, the department is looking at possible charges to be levied against this driver and one of the main charges we are looking at is reckless driver. Another offences we are looking at is driving in contravention of the road service permit also in respect to timing and so forth."
"I would also like to state that the department welcomes these types of information and want to thank the general public or whosoever. Whenever these instances or these things occur, to put it forward because it assists the department of transport in regulating and in enforcing and dealing with these types of behaviors."
As he noted, other bus lines will be given J and J's runs for the month they face suspension.
Department of Transport addresses apparent Reckless Behaviour by Bus Driver captured in Amateur Video Recording
The Department of Transport has been made aware of and has viewed an amateur video recording circulating on social media, which captures what appears to be reckless behaviour on the part of a driver for a bus company which operates on a road service permit issued by the department.
The bus in question is owned by J and J Bus Line which originates in Benque Viejo Del Carmen. The video, captured from inside a bus belonging to another company which operates on the same route, shows the driver of the J and J bus deliberately and consistently impeding the other bus from overtaking.
The Department of Transport wishes to state that, besides constituting a traffic violation, such behaviour endangers the lives of passengers aboard the buses in question and other road users.
Chief Transport Officer Tirso Galvez has since met with the Transport Board to consider the matter and take appropriate action. One such action being considered is the suspension of the road service permit for the bus company in question. Commuters who utilize that bus line are assured that alternative temporary arrangements would be made to fill the void and provide the necessary service. The department is also contemplating levying charges against the bus driver for his apparent individual actions.
The Department of Transport wishes to commend and thank the person(s) whose initiative has helped to expose such reckless actions and encourages other members of the public to exercise similar vigilance in assisting the department to document, punish and deter such behaviour.