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New bus schedule ‘will cost less to run’

A new winter public bus schedule will cost less to run than the old timetable, a government representative has claimed.

But the spokesman for the Ministry of Transport was unable to confirm how much would be saved.

He said: “I don't have this figure. It will take some time to quantify.”

The spokesman was speaking after questions from The Royal Gazette about the new schedule, which is expected to come into force on January 7.

A list of 13 highlights of the new timetable was revealed at a press conference last Thursday.

Roger Todd, the director of the Department of Public Transportation, said that the full schedule would be published “in the coming weeks”.

The ministry spokesman said that full details would be released “before the new year”.

He said: “The data is currently in its raw form and will be aesthetically modified for public consumption.”

Mr Todd said last week that the new schedule would be implemented “for an initial period of one year”.

He added: “Performance of the new schedule will be assessed and adjustments made as required.”

But Leah Scott, the shadow transport minister, questioned why the schedule would have such a short run.

She said: “If there is a schedule that has been voted upon and agreed by the members, then why is the new schedule only being implemented for an initial period of one year?”

Chris Furbert, the president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, said agreement on the schedule was a “great day”.

He added: “It's taken 17 years for us to devise the new bus schedule.”

But Ms Scott said: “The truth is we could have had a great day in either 2014, 2015 or 2016, as that was when the last round of discussions occurred and a new bus schedule was agreed between the Department of Public Transportation management and the BIU leadership.”

Ms Scott added: “However, the schedule was rejected at a vote.

“Hopefully, now that there is an agreed schedule, we can have better service delivery.”

Ms Scott also asked what research had been done to establish the demands of public transport users.

She said: “It is hard to determine whether the schedule has been amended to accommodate Mr and Mrs Bermuda and other bus riders or it is made to accommodate the Department of Public Transportation.”

Ms Scott added that good public transport should be efficient and reliable in getting residents and tourists where they wanted to go.

But she said: “Unfortunately, not all of those who make decisions about public transportation actually do use public transportation.”

David Burt, the Premier, said that the cost of consultants' advice to draft Bermuda's new public bus schedule totalled $25,156 over the past two years.

Mr Burt told MPs in the House of Assembly last Friday that the payments had been made to Canadian firm Schedule Masters.

He said the changes to the schedule were “just step one in providing a more reliable and responsive service”.

The figure was announced at the Premier's question time after questions from Christopher Famous, a government backbencher.

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Published December 17, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 17, 2018 at 6:41 am)

New bus schedule ‘will cost less to run’

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