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Tourists, residents frustrated with PTB industrial action

Shelter from the heat: tourists wait for a bus in Ireland Island North

Residents and tourists yesterday vented their frustration over a work-to-rule at the island’s bus service.

A 17-year-old girl said bus cancellations meant she and friends had to cancel their plans to visit the Parade of Bands in St David’s on National Heroes Day.

The Southampton girl, who asked not to be named, said: “Me and my friends were supposed to go out, and we couldn’t do so. So we had to cancel all of our plans.”

She said she often relied on the buses to get around — but the service was “unreliable”.

She added: “It really does affect you because the timing and the bus schedules are most of the time off.”

A 34-year-old man, also from Southampton, said the service had deteriorated since the work-to-rule started last week.

He added the service, which he used as his primary transport, was “inconsistent”.

He said: “When it’s running frequently, it’s not bad — it’s actually pretty efficient.

“But when it’s not, it could be a major inconvenience, especially when cruise ships are in.”

But Keturah Trott, 15, said she had not noticed a difference in service since the work-to-rule began last week.

The Smith’s resident said that she took the bus about three times a week and found the service reliable.

A 64-year-old woman from Hamilton Parish said she rode the bus daily. She added she had not experienced problems either.

But she explained that there was an hourly service on the route she used to go to work.

She added: “The route that I use is not a heavily used route during the day.”

Roger and Myra Harrison, from Indiana, said they had experienced problems with bus service since they arrived in the West End on a cruise.

Mr Harrison added: “We were sitting at a bus stop and a lady told us that the next two buses had been cancelled.”

He said the pair waited 45 minutes for the next bus.

Mr Harrison added: “It’s not uncommon to have to wait half an hour.

“If you’re trying to get somewhere in particular and back at a certain time, you can’t count on it.”

He said the couple had relied on the island’s bus service because taxis were “real expensive”.

Gina Callahan, from St Louis, Missouri, predicted she and her husband Tony would spend less time at tourist spots because of bus delays and cancellations.

The cruise ship passengers, on their first visit to Bermuda, said alternative transport was “too expensive”.

Ms Callahan added the couple would “definitely have to be careful” about planning activities while transport services were disrupted. Mr Callahan said the bus service disruptions were “inconvenient”.

Both couples said they had not known about the work-to-rule before they were approached by The Royal Gazette.

A tourist couple from Maine, who were at the Hamilton bus station, said they were forced to change their plans on Tuesday after a bus failed to show up.

The woman said: “We caught a cab instead.”

Her husband added the pair had waited for “at least” a half-hour before they decided to take a taxi.

But the man said Tuesday’s experience had not dissuaded them from using the buses. He explained: “We just adjust.”

The Government announced yesterday that 65 morning bus routes had been cancelled.

Another 110 routes were cancelled in the afternoon and evening.