Oct 03, 2013 News
“Hot plate buses would roll up, pull and tug at passengers, chuck some of them inside, while a set of school children gang up waiting on the hot plate buses. Many people are victims to robberies in these buses; they lose their phones, purses, wallets and other valuables.
“Some touts are not touts, they are the people who pick you when they hustle you into these hot plate buses, the drivers bring and encourage the thieves, all these thing happen in front of the eyes of the police.”
These sentiments were made by minibus operatives located at the Stabroek Market. With traffic accidents on the increase, it has been underscored by fellow minibus operators that the lawlessness will continue as most traffic police are being ignored or are willfully turning a blind eye when lawlessness takes place.
It was underscored that drivers that comply with using the turn system and the line are afraid to speak out as they would be harassed and even violated by hot plate drivers and touts.
“There are some young policemen out there and the hot plate minibus drivers sometimes curse them and tell them all sort of things and they would turn their backs. I think they are either afraid of them or taking bribes,” one minibus operator lamented.
“When other buses are at the front of the line loading, the hot plate buses come and stop right in front of the line and refuse to move. Sometimes other buses are already full in the line and these hot plate buses refuse to move.”
Noting that police are quick to harass the bus drivers complying with laws and regulations, bus operatives who requested anonymity for fear of victimization said that there is need to rotate and reshuffle police ranks doing traffic duties often, or either place incorruptible policemen to have a proper system that citizens can respect.
In sharing recommendations, minibus operators said it would be wise for the Guyana Police Force to assign policemen at the entrance and exit of the bus parks, while the 45 route should be cleared of vendors at the corner of Water Street, Georgetown in the vicinity of KFC surroundings.
“There was even a situation where one bus conductor told two guys to come out of the bus because he doesn’t want them to rob passengers. He was then beaten by the two men and he had to run for his life.”
Lauding the actions of one specific policeman, another minibus driver said, “One corporal Boyce makes sure that there is order and proper operation at the bus parks.”
Having a bird’s eye view of the situation was a welcomed suggestion to the minibus drivers that comply with the regulations.
“There should be a full-fledged view of what is going on; police would be able to pinpoint these people, because when police pick them up, they can’t give excuses to the police that they wasn’t there, or I didn’t do so, because these drivers on the hot plate seem to become violent when people talk about what they are doing.”
The minibus driver further stated that no minibus should offload passengers along the “hot plate” since it is a dangerous act that stops the free flow of traffic.
Another detrimental aspect of the hot plate drivers was raised. “Why drink and drive when you can smoke weed and fly. They say when they smoke the police have nothing to test that, they can only test you when you drink. This is the motto of some drivers.”
“Every trip they (hot plate drivers) come in they smoke and drink with loud music, and they have the school girls round and round with the minibus and they also partaking in the activities.”
On another visit recently at the park, one conductor, who admitted to working on the ‘hot plate’, complained that the line system was slow. “I is work the plate and this thing ain’t working out,” he said. He added that if they remain in the line they can’t earn sufficient money.
Other operators at the park complained that these buses seemed to have outfoxed the police by monitoring them. They said that ‘hot plate’ buses have adapted a new strategy to deal with the police by changing the hours that they would pick up on the ‘no stopping’.
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