Free minibus service to replace off the road public buses today
A free minibus service will replace public buses today, the Government revealed last night.
Lawrence Scott, the transport minister, confirmed that the Government had implemented its contingency plan after public transport staff withdrew their labour amid fears over Covid-19.
Mr Scott said: “It is most unfortunate that we find ourselves at this point, but nine days into this dispute, we must act to help our residents who depend on public transportation to go about their day-to-day lives.”
He added: “Although the Government supports labour, we must act to deliver expected public services while efforts continue towards resolving the current impasse.”
Mr Scott highlighted the bus service had been off the roads for nine days in a row.
The ferry service has also downed tools.
Mr Scott said: “These are trying times for everyone and the added burden, not having transportation, adds additional stress and anxiety to those who rely on the public bus service.
“To alleviate the inconvenience caused by the withdrawal of labour, the ministry has asked licensed minibuses to provide an alternative means of providing transportation.”
Chris Furbert, the president of the BIU, declined to comment on the Government’s move until the union had spoken to its transport department members at a meeting this morning.
The BIU is also scheduled to hold a press conference at 11am today.
Lawrence Scott told the House of Assembly last Friday that the Government would go back to negotiations with the Bermuda Industrial Union on Saturday “first and foremost in the interest of conciliation, to make sure that we are able to find that common thread”.
But he warned: “In the worst-case scenario and planning for all events, if we are unable to reach an agreement, there is a follow-up, a back-up plan the Government has ready to go, so that persons will no longer be stranded.”
But Mr Scott did not elaborate at the time on what alternatives the Government had planned.
The emergency bus services will run on the hour from 7am to 7pm on the core 1, 3, 7, 8, 10 and 11 bus routes.
Mr Scott added that the minibuses would operate in line with the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 rules for public transport.
Minibuses will run on:
Route 1 – Hamilton to Grotto Bay
Route 3 – Hamilton to Grotto Bay
Route 7 – Hamilton to Somerset
Route 8 – Hamilton to Somerset
Route 10 – Hamilton to St George’s
Route 11 – Hamilton to St George’s
There will also be a loop service from the St George’s bus depot to Great Head Park in St David’s and from Somerset bus depot to the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard.