by Donella Hosten
In recent times, bus operators have been placed under scrutiny in the public domain due to their “after hours” charges.
In a local television programme, a Police Officer attached to the Traffic Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), commented on the issue, stating that it was illegal for bus operators to raise their prices on weekends, public holidays, and after certain hours in the night.
However, during the RGPF’s media briefing, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin, stated that the officer who appeared on that particular programme, may have missed some information. He also went on to say that this is something that needs to be addressed and agreed upon soon.
According to Martin, the pricing for after-hours is usually left for the bus operators to decide. “There is some justification from what I have seen, that gives the bus drivers the right to charge separate charges for holidays, weekends and late nights.” He also spoke about off-route prices, and said this is an arrangement between the passenger and the bus operator.
An executive member of the Grand Anse Bus Association noted that in 2003 there was an arrangement put in place for prices to be increased after certain hours, weekends and public holidays. After hours commences when the Bus Terminus closes at 10 pm – at that time, “we are no longer operating a public transport system.”
He questioned persons wanting buses to offer a 24/7 service, but at whose expense? Operating such a service can be both dangerous and costly to the owners, therefore if they suggest a price, persons have a choice to either pay or not use the system.
Bus operators are asking for the police to issue a public statement to have the matter resolved, as it is painting bus operators in a negative light with their passengers.
The Deputy Commissioner affirmed that a statement should be out soon.