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Christmas holiday for PTSC workers
Commuters who travel by public transport will have to find other means of transport today, as staff of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) have been given the day off to celebrate Christmas. A full-page advertisement in the newspapers said in the spirit of the season, PTSC employees and their families may be celebrating Christmas Day, so there will be no service today. The corporation apologised to the travelling public for any inconvenience caused and noted that service will return to regular public holiday service tomorrow.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Brian Juanette, PTSC general manager of operations, said the Minister of Transport might not be aware of it, but for Christmas it has been a tradition to facilitate the workers. “They enjoy spending quality time with their family and it is the only day available that they have. We come back on Boxing Day and that is not unreasonable at all. We are out until 10 pm tonight and always around to transport our passengers,” he said.
He said the demand for the service is usually slow on Christmas Day and some employees do not report for duty. Also contacted yesterday, Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz said he had seen the advertisement but was not aware that this was normal procedure at PTSC. “I am not too sure how that decision was made and if that is a normal thing for PTSC. This is my first Christmas with the Transport Ministry,” he said.
Cadiz said there were no labour issues at PTSC and this was confirmed with several recent meetings. However, he said he did not see the reason for the day off. “I am not sure with the rationale. I could understand a reduced service. There is no rush service on Christmas Day, with the same volume of people to move on a regular day,” he said. “PTSC moves thousands of people on a daily basis but that is reduced with business closed, so there will be a great reduction on Christmas Day.
“I will find out about it. People will move around to go to work, to worship and to see family.” Ann Thomas, a commuter, said she would be using a taxi service to go to work today. “I am working tomorrow and I will take a car. Last year I realised that the buses didn’t work on Christmas or Boxing Day. It is a public holiday and they shouldn’t stop, but if they want time with their family you can’t blame them,” she said.
Another commuter, Ferdinand Thomas (not related), said he would not be out today so it did not affect him. “I don’t go anywhere on Christmas,” he said. Another commuter agree, however, that Christmas should be spent with family. “It should be a state of emergency and people should stay in their house and spend time with their family. Let them enjoy the day off,” he said. A spokesman for the maxi taxi association said the drivers would be out as normal.
“The bus service is government and we are private. We have to look for that money on that day. We are always out,” he said.
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