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New winter bus schedule delayed again

The island's new winter bus schedule has hit another bump in the road.

Fresh talks were held yesterday amid staff concerns about the off-season schedule, which was due to be introduced on Monday.

That deadline was pushed back two weeks to January 21, but has again been postponed.

Glenn Simmons, of the Bermuda Industrial Union, told The Royal Gazette: “We are not totally resolved, but we are still in the works trying to work things out.”

Mr Simmons declined to discuss the specific concerns of unionised Department of Public Transportation staff.

He added: “We are trying our best to come up with something very viable for the general public of Bermuda and our tourists, our seniors and everybody as a working class, working with the DPT team as well as the minister of transport.”

Mr Simmons was speaking after he met Zane DeSilva, the transport minister, Roger Todd, director of the DPT, and ministry officials at the BIU headquarters in Hamilton.

Mr DeSilva hoped any problems with the new timings, which took 17 years to agree, would be resolved.

He added: “I appreciate the work that Roger Todd has put in along with the union and I'm hopeful that we will come to a happy space.”

The meeting came one week after the implementation of the schedule was delayed.

Mr Todd said at the time it had been pushed back to “ensure that all relevant stakeholders and the general public were well informed of the scheduling change”.

The new schedule was announced in the middle of last month, when it was claimed it would cut down on cancellations because of bus shortages.

Chris Furbert, the president of the BIU, said it was a “great day”. He added: “It's taken 17 years for us to devise the new bus schedule.”

The present schedule, which has been in place since 2001, has suffered cancellations for months because of the island's ageing and unreliable fleet of buses.

The new winter schedule will run for one year.

Mr Todd said when the new timetable was launched that the schedule's performance would “be assessed and adjustments made as required”.

A government spokeswoman said last night that the DPT and BIU were trying to address concerns about bus rosters that included multiple night shifts.

She explained: “Meetings held today between the DPT and BIU led to a better understanding of the night work issues — an area of much uncertainty and contention in the past.

“While the effective date for the bus schedule is no longer January 21, 2019, the 2019 winter bus schedule will remain unchanged. More information regarding a new effective date will be forthcoming.”

She added: “The DPT and the BIU look forward to making necessary changes as soon as possible that will position the bus service to better serve the public.”

The spokeswoman said the timetable could be viewed online gov.bm/bus.

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Published January 12, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated January 12, 2019 at 8:00 am)

New winter bus schedule delayed again

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