And in other news, you've heard the Minister of Transport say that the bus operators had until the end of this month to start upgrading their buses. Well, today he told us that they're onboard, and that upgrade has started. Ferguson added that by early next year, commuters will be riding in comfort.
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Youth, Sports & Transport
"If you go to almost by Old Belize right now, a lot of bus owners are there negotiating with a bus owner right now. There's about 15 buses parked there for the last year. And the operators recognize that they must operate. As a matter of fact our transportation study was recently completed last week and the consultants are telling them that they must upgrade so they're prepared and they're fully onboard."
"We say we want to see gradual approach so start January 1st, you will see some different buses on the highway."
"Have they started, have you seen any physical change with the buses?"
"Yeah, I see Tillett from Orange Walk bringing at least two or three already, then Sergio Chuc will bring another three or so by January 1st, and the others are now negotiating with this operator right here in Belize."
"Initially, we are hoping that in the end we can come and say government is going to subsidize or contribute. I just came back from Korea about three weeks ago, it's a big country, 35 million people, so they subsidize their bus industry. Belize is a small country, can't afford to do, we subsidize a lot in education but we can't subsidize the bus right now until we can grow the economy. I want to give the prime minister kudos, he just saved us a billion dollars, and as we go along we'll see transformation, these are activities happening in our country. But just remember in May of last year, you get a subsidy of almost a million dollars, I was able to go back to Cabinet two weeks ago and negotiate for another 200,000 dollars to take them to December so we are doing our best to work with them and I'm very happy."