There is a sense of unease among Vincentian van owners about the disregard for the plight of van owners during the current COVID-19 crisis.

While the government has introduced a two months stimulus package, van owners are annoyed that the government is seeking to legislate changes to the industry without consultation with stakeholders. It is believed that the government has been giving one of the representative bodies the proverbial ‘run around’ citing more pressing issues.

Reliable sources have indicated to Breadfruit News that the government has repeatedly failed to meet with their organisation to discuss many of the issues which confront the ailing transport sector.

Covid-19 has dampened the demand for public transport due to a slowdown in economic activity within the country. However, one owner intimated that the government’s plan to permanently keep the passenger limit at 14 passengers “would spell economic disaster for van owners similar to Liat”. The owner argues that this is a double whammy.
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Another owner who wishes to remain anonymous until the organisation takes a decision soon on the way forward argued, “with little else happening, unemployment is going to increase because van owners can’t afford to repay loans, service vehicles and take care of their families” under the current arrangements.

Barbados which has recorded 97 cases of the virus has already loosened restrictions with public transport returning to full capacity. The government there has advised that ‘all drivers, conductors and passengers must all wear their masks and practise good hygiene.”

In the meantime, the local association representing van owners here is mulling taking action soon if government fails to at least consult their membership to discuss the pending changes.

Source : Breadfruit news

Photo Credit: Caribbean Charisma

1 COMMENT

  1. Let there be no doubt whatsoever that vans should not be allowed ever again to carry the numbers they previously carried. In most countries , I do not know about SVG to carry more than the permitted number, usually the manufacturers safety loading number, voids the insurance for the van. If that is the same in SVG then the van owners can be prosecuted for having invalid insurance when they are overloaded. If they want to carry more passengers, get bigger vans or buses with more seats. Putting three people on a double seat is out of order, same as putting planks between seats is out of order. People caught planking should have an automatic loss of licence.

    The world is not just changing, it has changed, lets hope that many of the changes are for the better.

    Driving at break-neck speeds when overloaded renders the vehicle uncontrollable during an emergency.

    Vans use more fuel when overloaded and cause more brake and suspension wear and damage. Overloading is to get the extra dollars is false economy.

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