Transport system works like a charm
Cruise ship passengers looking to explore the Island appeared to have no problems getting transport out of Dockyard yesterday.
Taxi drivers had earlier criticised a redesigned road network and new dispatch zones, claiming the revamp would be inefficient.
The Royal Gazette also heard reports that some cabbies planned on boycotting the West End in protest at the development, which they claim was imposed by transport chiefs without consultation with the taxi industry.
And Marine & Ports workers had expressed concerns that public ferries — which have been hit with a number of mechanical problems lately — would not be able to handle an increased workload.
But when thousands of passengers from the cruise ships
Summit, poured into Dockyard yesterday, the transport network appeared to cope with the surge in demand.
Roads were busy as fleets of taxis, tour buses, and public buses, cruised out of the West End. But the network never became gridlocked, and traffic was able to move smoothly through the facility throughout the course of the morning.
Tour taxi driver Millard Lightbourne, who has worked in the tourism industry for more than 50 years, said cabbies were eager to get to work.
“Some of us have been down here since five or six o’clock this morning so that we could get ahead in the line,” Mr Lightbourne, 71, said.
“We’ve got two cruise ships in at the same time so we’re going to be busy. But the new layout here will help us out a lot. There were some problems with it early on but with everyone working together we’re off to a good start.”
Bermuda Taxi Owners/Operators Association President Derek Young later applauded his members for helping. “Representatives of the BTOA and other concerned drivers met with TCD and Wedco officials on Tuesday and a new taxi layout was presented and approved by concerned drivers who’s particular interest was to perform tours for our visitors,” said Mr Young.
“We are happy with the new proposal — it’s certainly something we can work with. Drivers can now display their tour signs and can speak with the passengers.
“We are happy the officials agreed to allow us to sell our business. This shows that the taxi industry can make our voices heard and we were listened to. We can work with what we have now but will be also looking to making improvements to the process going forward.
“Now we just need to let the government know and hear our voices and deal with the proposal we put forward to them so we can get along with our business and make some much needed revenue.”
Fast ferries heading to Hamilton, and St George’s, from Dockyard also proved popular with visitors, who were able to buy tickets from a number of easily spotted kiosks at Dockyard. Queues formed in orderly lines, and passengers were able to board two ferries making regular trips to Hamilton, and the East End.
But the ferry service has suffered one setback. The planned arrival of a chartered ferry drafted in from the US as backup to the regular fleet, has been delayed due to poor weather conditions.
Yesterday a Ministry of Transport spokesman said: “The
Millennium charter ferry has been waiting for an acceptable weather window to make the crossing from Boston to Bermuda.
“The latest forecast shows a window for departure late Thursday or early Friday morning of this week with arrival in Bermuda expected late Sunday or early Monday.”