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Cadiz on mass transportation: T&T needs proper direction
T&T has gone “every which way” when it comes to public transportation and a decision must be taken on the proper direction the Government will be heading to improve this key service. So said Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz yesterday during a one-day workshop on mass transportation at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain. Making presentations were Dr Trevor Townsend, transport systems engineer and former general manager of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC); Dr Rae Furlonge, traffic and transportation engineer and Bob Lingwood, former CEO of transit, Vancouver, Canada, and former consultant, PTSC transformation.
Also present was Annie Weinstock, the US country director for the Institute for Transportation and Development (ITDP) and Dr Walter Hook, chief executive officer of ITDP. Cadiz said he had counted eight different ways, including bus, maxi and water taxis, in which people could move around the country without using their private cars and bicycles. “We need to be able to figure out what are we doing with these eight different modes of transport. It is all about the connectivity. It is all about how you ride this public transport system,” Cadiz said. He said in Tobago, for instance, there was a limited maxi taxi service unlike Trinidad.
Saying there was not a very efficient bus service, Cadiz added: “Facts are facts and that’s what we are here to deal with. “I have seen people in San Fernando where the coach from San Fernando to Port-of-Spain is $10 and yet still people would line up for two hours on the $6 ride because they cannot afford to pay $10 to go on the coach.” Saying such issues must be addressed, Cadiz said he was also faced with the task of getting people from Sangre Grande to Matelot without waiting hours for the bus or “hoping the last bus actually arrives.”
He added: “The purpose of this forum is not to determine what size bus to buy or how many seats should be on a water taxi. “The purpose is to tell T&T this is the direction in which we should be going and then we can get down to the nuts and bolts of creating this new transit system, because a transit system is what we have to have.”