Nov 27, 2008 News
The reintroduction of bus stops is definitely being considered for early next year. This is according to Transport Minister Robeson Benn, who made the disclosure during an address to schoolchildren during a massive exhibition at the National Stadium, Providence yesterday.
The event, which was attended by thousands of schoolchildren, was part of activities to mark National Road Safety Week.
Traffic Chief Neil Semple told Kaieteur News that the areas for the reintroduction of bus stops have already been identified.
According to the Traffic Chief, these thoroughfares include Regent Street, Aubrey Barker Road and Sheriff Street.
A number of motorists have expressed disgust over the way minibuses stop to put off and pick up passengers, and have appealed for the reintroduction of bus stops.
But many argue that bus stops which have a certain dimension in terms of space will not be convenient in Guyana given the amount of minibuses that ply the roads.
One argument is that there could be several buses stopping at one particular stop at a time, causing unwanted congestion.
The Traffic Chief acknowledged this and indicated that it is an area of concern that is being worked out.
Minister Robeson Benn said that a lot of thought went into the process of identifying the areas where bus stops will be placed.
“The problem has been that the number of people in a minibus is fairly small and the frequency of departure and arrival is very high, so we have to identify places where buses could stop, particularly along the critical roadways where people could get to and into a bus. I think the main issue we need to address is congestion,” Minister Benn said.
He identified Regent Street, Lamaha Street, Mandela Avenue and Sheriff Street as some of the more congested main roads in the city.
“Regent Street is an enigma sometimes. If you go early in the mornings along Regent Street there is hardly any traffic but after nine o’clock or so then it goes crazy,” Benn stated.
He explained that there was an idea being floated around that suggested making Regent Street a one-way road at a particular time during the day. He said, however, that much of the problem relates to inappropriate behaviour.
“People not wanting to walk on the pavement, double parking, doing things which are highly inconsiderate and contemptuous of other road users,” Minister Benn added.
Meanwhile, the Minister said that kudos are in order for ranks of the Police Traffic Department as Guyana remains on course to break a 20-year record for the lowest number of road fatalities in a year.
Minister Benn said that he is very pleased with the results that the Police Traffic Department has been able to achieve this year.
“The statistics… it’s much lower than it was last year. We need to keep it along this trend going forward. I think that the police traffic department needs to be congratulated,” Benn told this newspaper.
He said that the Police Traffic Department now needs to sit with the administration and analyse what led to the good result that has been achieved.
This year’s road fatality figure currently stands at 98, which represents the lowest figure within the past 10 years.
According to police statistics, beginning 1999, the road fatality figure fluctuated significantly, averaging around 160 deaths per year.
During this period, road fatalities reached a peak of 207 last year following a spate of horrific multiple-death accidents.
This prompted the police to launch its ‘Operation Safeway’, an aggressive campaign aimed at reducing speeding and other road violations.
The efforts of the police were boosted by the donation of a quantity of radar guns, which were deployed throughout the country.
The use of the radar guns and the vigilance of ranks are being credited for the reduction of speeding cases and by extension road fatalities.
Apart from the police, Minister Benn also extended congratulations to road users for their efforts to arrest the traffic situation.
“Also too we have to congratulate those drivers and owners of motor vehicles who have contributed to this successful statistic, and the critical thing is that we maintain at or below those levels going forward,” the Minister said.
Chandrapaul Persaud, President of the Enterprise Road Safety Association, one of the most vibrant in the country, expressed pleasure at the large turnout of schoolchildren at yesterday’s exhibition and rally.
He said that the event will serve to highlight the significant role children can play in the reduction of road accidents.
He noted that while the lives of many children have been snuffed out on the roadways over the past decade, the efforts of all the stakeholders are bearing fruit, with a drastic decline in the number of children killed so far for this year.
Figures from the Police Traffic Department indicated that so far only four children were killed as a result of road accidents for 2008, compared with 30 and 21 in 2007 and 2006 respectively.
“We are still losing too many people as a result of road accidents. So far the number of children killed on the road is not so bad and our accident rate has dropped also,” Persaud, who is also Assistant Secretary of the National Road Safety Council and a member of the National Road Safety Planning Committee, told this newspaper in an invited comment.
He complimented Traffic Chief Neil Semple and his ranks for what he described as a “wonderful job”.
He said that although Road Safety Week will end on Saturday, road users should extend it indefinitely.
“We want the people who are using the road to continue Road Safety Week because next month is December and there is usually a lot of drinking and consequently accidents. So we want the road safety message to go on,” Persaud said.
He said that apart from repainting road signs near school areas, his organization will continue to lecture to school children about road safety.
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