Works Minister Rohan Sinanan insisted yesterday that the ministry has no Priority Bus Route(PBR) passes in its possession.
He was responding to claims by a group of over 20 Route 2 maxi taxi drivers who picketed outside the Ministry of Works on Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain.
Spokesman for the group, former Vice President of Route 2 Maxi Taxi Association, Brenton Knights, said several former maxi taxi drivers had returned their PBR passes within the last five years and they were just sitting at the ministry.
“It is unfair that guys waiting for almost close to five years on an application for a bus route pass,” he said. “The list in terms of application inside is over 100.”
Knights said many of the drivers who had not received PBR passes had been unable to work in the last three months as operating at 50 per cent and 75 per cent capacity on the main road was not beneficial.
“These guys here are not just a number on a list—they represent livelihoods, families, and lives that matter,” he said.
Sinanan said the PBR was operating at capacity.“There is a process to get a PBR pass which is once it becomes available, there is a queue,” he said.
The group that protested did so separately from the Route 2 Maxi Taxi Association whose president, Linus Phillip, said he did not know about the protest.
The protesting drivers have made a freedom of information request and the Ministry has 30 days to respond.
Phillip said there were currently 1,150 passes active on the PBR and they were all taken, so the drivers will have to wait until a pass was available.
“People who said they waiting five years and more that is a lie,” he said.
“I understand. Yes, I buy my bus and things hard but it hard for everybody.”
Phillip said maxi taxi drivers were making just two trips for the day as they had to wait almost five hours to fill their vehicles.
He said the drivers knew exactly what they signed up for when they purchased their buses.
Sinanan said he was willing to meet with the disgruntled maxi taxi drivers.