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PTSC head knocks rapid rail idea
Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) chairman Devant Maharaj says the success of its response on Wednesday to the maxi taxi drivers’ strike, proves that this country does not need a rapid rail transport system. Some 200 buses were deployed to bridge the gap caused by the withdrawal of the 2600 maxi taxis from various routes, in protest over the Minister of Works, Jack Warner’s recommendation to regularise PH drivers. Maharaj said while the strategies employed could not meet the shortfall created by the withdrawal of the maxi-taxi services, their depleted fleet did diminish in significant parts, the discomfort of commuters.
He said if they are up to full strength they will be able to provide an efficient and reliable public transport service. “It shows we really don’t need a rapid rail in T&T. We need to create a rapid bus transit system,” Maharaj said in an interview.
He added, “had the PTSC received the $77 to $80 million spent on a feasibility study for the rapid rail, we would have been able to buy at least 100 buses and create a significant rapid bus transit system that would have addressed the need of the commuting public very easily.” Maharaj said in the circumstances PTSC would step up its repair/maintenance programme. “We have seen the engineering department at PTSC can fix 50 buses in ten days, illustrating that the people we have possess the skills and the ability to navigate the variety of buses we have here.”
There are 16 different models of buses, from Brazil, Germany and China, posing a challenge to engineers. The waiting time for parts, three to six months, especially from China, he said, is too long. The 50 buses which were down for a considerable period were repaired in record time to circumvent any suffering of commuters due to the strike. Maharaj said this demonstrated how efficient the PTSC could be if given the tools to work with. Now that the engineers have demonstrated this ability, Maharaj said, the intention is to have 100 other buses that are down, up and running in the shortest possible time to bring the fleet of 400 buses on the road.
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