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Bill for sobriety checks to be introduced

Changing unsafe behaviour: Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Legislation aimed at removing drink-drivers from Bermuda’s roads is to be introduced.

Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, told the House of Assembly on Friday: “In the near future, I plan to introduce a Bill to support the implementation of roadside sobriety checks.”

Mr Roban said the move was aimed at reducing road deaths and changing unsafe behaviour.

He added: “Road safety is a fundamental human right. I know that accidents through human error will always happen, but I am counting on all of our road users to share responsibility for road safety. I encourage all members of our society to work with us. Our mutual efforts will improve road safety for our citizens and visitors.”

Mr Roban added that the Transport Control Department was “committed to reviewing Project Ride, which includes the test-taking process and procedures”.

The Road Safety Council, he said, would work with stakeholders including Cada and A Piece of the Rock to launch a “comprehensive road safety programme”.

Mr Roban also said that the Government continued to be interested in moving towards a cashless payment system for public transit and that a new bus schedule had been created with the intention to bolster service when and where it is needed.

He said the schedule was still going through the consultation process.

On the water, Mr Roban said Bermuda was expecting 20 additional cruise ship calls in the coming year. The island will also host 11 inaugural cruises.

Mr Roban said: “This means that Bermuda will receive an estimated 49,000 more cruise ship passengers compared with last season.”

The minister also mentioned the return of the solar-rebate programme.

He said: “The precise mechanism of the rebate has yet to be finalised yet the fund has been created to allow for a more inclusive programme to allow ordinary homeowners to avail themselves with this technology.”

Grant Gibbons, the Shadow Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, sought clarity about the initiative, including the persons who would be eligible, and the types of technologies included.

Mr Gibbons said: “The question is how’s it going to work.”

He added that it would be “nice to know” when the cashless payment system for public transit would be introduced.

Mr Gibbons said: “I think having the cashless system would make it a lot easier on visitors and also local people as well.”

He said that he was concerned about the amount of money that was being spent on maintenance and refurbishment of the island’s buses.

Mr Gibbons also questioned why hybrid and electric buses were not being considered for the fleet.

He said: “Bermuda does not have the same problem that other jurisdictions do with electric buses in the sense that we don’t have to go very far here, so I think electric buses would make a lot of sense here.”

Mr Roban responded that the Government was not “married to Mann”, the supplier of Bermuda’s buses.