Bus Associations Want Support For Members

West Bus Station

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Bus Association, Keithroy Black, has announced his intention to write to the government on behalf of members.

He told Pointe Xpress that the association will be  seeking a facility similar to fishermen who pay $10.00 per gallon for a gallon of gas.

“The association has already made contact with several members of the Cabinet to plead our case and we will be requesting that the matter be brought to the attention of the entire
Cabinet when it meets on Wednesday,” Black stated.

He explained that the economic impact of the pandemic on bus operators has been quite severe with most drivers being made idle, especially during the first weeks of the lockdown under the state of emergency.

“Since the loosening of the curfew and bus drivers are allowed to resume operations, we are doing so at a tremendous loss. Under the health protocols, we are not allowed to
carry a full trip. What this means is that the 14-seater buses are only allowed to carry 9-passengers and the 15-seaters carry 10. The bigger buses – 29 or 30-seaters – are now only allowed to carry 17 passengers,” he detailed.

He revealed that for each trip, bus drivers are losing $12:00 to $14:00 per trip for the 14 and 15-seaters while the 29 and 30-seaters lose $17:00 per trip. Coupled with this, the bus drivers pay an average of $125 to $130 per day in fuel costs for the smaller buses. The costs are even higher for the bigger buses, he explained.

According to Black this comes at a time when ridership on all routes are down significantly, and not just because of the health protocols. He said the lockdown and the closure of
hotels and schools translate to less people using buses to travel to and from the city.

“With all this in mind, we think that it is only fair that to seek assistance from the government to help struggling bus drivers. We have to work out the logistics of this assistance, but it is badly needed because our bus men and women are operating at a loss.

Meanwhile, President of the Northeast Bus Association, Veronica Andrew, whose association broke away from the main bus association about a year ago, said members of her association, which operates out of the East Bus Station, are hurting just as well.

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  1. You know the thing I don’t understand. In good times you cannot find many of these people who now want government assistance to pay in to the Treasury, Social Security, MBS, or Education Levy. Everyone of them trying to pay as little as possible or don’t pay anything at all. Bugt in times of Calamity, all of them want the government to assist them because they are not making money. Well as the sayi ng goes, you cannot have it both ways. If I refuse to pay for insurance when the time comes that I need some assistance the insurance company will not just come and help me out. They’ll say sorry but you are not insured. You’re on your own. And we see that in the USA as well when it come to distribute the many funds. They go to those who have paid their taxes and do their filings over the years. Government here should take a similar approach as to who they assist. See what their standing is with the IRD and other statutory bodies. And if that is lacking sorry you’re on your own. Tax payers’ money is for those who pay their taxes. And were we see it also is when people get old and they ahve not contribute to social security over the years, then they are not eligable for a pension and get themselve in to poverty and become a real burden for the state. Then the Board of Guardian has to step in. But that is not a fair system at all. I know it is the humane thing to do. But people has to take responsibility for their life. So when you are young and squander your money and fail to pay into the system to protect you from proverty in your latter years, dont blame anyone else and don’t look for handouts. I think government need to protect peoople fromthemselves in the their younger years and make it mandatory that they pay into these schemes. And you need to have a special task force to monitor who never paid in a period of lets say five years and approach them and see what the issues are. Cause they must have some sort of income over the years sustaining their livelihood.

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