Mixed views on whether wharf will be ready
Will Heritage Wharf be ready the
Norwegian Breakaway’s arrival on May 15?
The Royal Gazette visited Dockyard to find out what residents thought some were optimistic; others said it would take nothing short of a miracle.
Rex Darrell was one of those who expressed confidence that construction work on the pier would be completed. He was also hopeful that there would be sufficient transportation for the 6,200 cruise ship passengers expected to arrive that day.
“We have taxis, there are more minibuses out here, you have additional ferries; I think we could manage it. I know we had some problems with passengers last season, but they’re bringing in an extra ferry. We all want to get it right. There’s no doubt that Bermuda’s economy needs this.”
Agnel Borgesson, an unemployed Bermudian, was more concerned about the ferry service catering to local residents.
“I still say they need to cater to locals more. The Dockyard to St George’s ferry does not run on weekends. A lot of activities take place in Bermuda on weekends that don’t happen through the week.
“As for the dock being ready I can’t really say. I know they’re working on it around the clock and I can only hope that it will be ready.”
On the issue of transportation, he said: “You have a whole lot of new minibuses on the road. They started out with two down in St George’s, now other people have copied that and they’re all over the Island, plus we have the taxi service.”
Retired construction worker
Malcolm (Whitehead) Smith said: “I’ve been reading the updates on the dock provided by the Minister Trevor Moniz and I have to hope that his word is true and that he will stick to his word.
“I can see there’s still a lot of work to be done on the dock and they’ve been working a lot of hours but at the end of the day I think it will be done.”
Randolph Bulford who operates Bulford’s Mini Bus Service was not so optimistic.
Asked if the pier would be ready in time he replied: “Not a chance! I’ve already talked to a few guys working on the project and they let me know that this dock will not be ready until June because there’s just too much work and not enough time.
“I don’t believe there will be enough ground transportation up here to move them all either. They’re only allowing five minibuses to come out here and wait on line at one time. All the other minibuses have to be out by the silo.
“It’s the same for taxis. You have a limited amount of taxis that can wait near the ship. I hear that’s only temporary but I believe that temporary situation depends on when that dock is going to be ready and there’s no way it’s going to be ready in two weeks.
“If we get as many taxis as we had up here during the last season I think there’s a possibility but there will be some challenges.”
A veteran taxi driver said he doubted the wharf would be ready in time.
“I’m no expert, but looking at what they’re doing, you really can’t tell how long it will take.”
Whether or not there’d be sufficient transportation depended on “how the passengers got off the ship”, he said.
“If they all come off at once, then no I don’t think we will have enough for them all. The way it’s set up now, before the ships are here, it’s going to be difficult. They’ve changed the whole system on how we pick up passengers.
“In the past we were next to the ship; the tour drivers who were out there with their signs letting people know that there are tours available. Most tourists when they come off the ship don’t know what they want to do, they follow a line and next thing you know they’ve bought ferry passes.”
Where before 20 or 30 taxis would be hired for tours, the driver anticipated five might get a job in the coming season.
Affordable Ride minibus operator
Michael Tucker said: “Personally, I think it’s going to be a miracle. I don’t see it being ready. I’m out here every day and just going by the construction site, I’m mechanically inclined to say I just can’t see it being ready. But I think we can move all the passengers if we had a system in place.
“I went abroad so I have a lot of pre-arranged business because you have to beat your own drum; you’ve got to come out here and make some noise.
“The system that they have is no perfect fix, I can see the security aspect in not allowing folks going right up to the ship but there’s a thing called the worldwide web. Let that GPS company charging taxi drivers $150 a month to be on their system work for their money.
“They’re taking $150 from their members every month, somebody should make them advertise their business and use the GPS system like it’s supposed to be used; like it’s used in the rest of the world.”