– Minibus Union President
Over the years, minibus passengers have made a litany of complaints against operators, including overloading, speeding, loud and vulgar music and harassment.
This issue has seen an increase in outcries for a code of conduct by which these operators ought to abide.
In a recent meeting between the United Minibus Union and the Ministry of Business, the union was presented with a draft code of conduct that is being analysed and taken into consideration.
In an interview with Kaieteur News, the President of the United Minibus Union, Eon Andrews disclosed that to date he has no issues with the draft and is in total agreement with its content. Andrews highlighted that operators need to get themselves in order because once the union agrees, the only action left is for the Ministry Of Business to implement the code of conduct.
Aside from that, the president of the union highlighted that adjustments can be made to the draft and that full implementation of the code of conduct may take some time. He also made mention of colour coding for different minibuses operating in various districts and a dress code for drivers.
Speaking about the dress code, the president highlighted that questions have been raised about ‘who will be funding the dress code?’ However; he opined that any responsible owner or operator would understand and see the importance of proper conduct.
When asked about a final decision on the code of conduct, Andrews stated that the union and the ministry are scheduled to have a meeting by or before November 25, but guaranteed that the code of conduct will be implemented by the end of the year.
The draft code of conduct presented to the union covers many relevant issues being faced by consumers in the aspects of general operation of drivers and conductors, licensing and compliance, consumer service, prohibitions and health and safety conditions provided for passengers in minibuses. After agreement by both parties, this code of conduct will be mandatory to all minibus operators countrywide.
The draft entails both drivers and conductors to follow all transportation related laws and regulations.
It also accentuates that their behaviour towards passengers should be without prejudice.
Further into the draft, emphasis is also placed on fair and proper treatment of persons with disabilities, women, children and the elderly.
The code of conduct draft also proposes much needed training being criteria for new operators (drivers and conductors) and upon the renewing of their licenses.
Under prohibitions, the draft posited that operators should not; refuse to stop at areas that are allotted as bus stop, attach any sign that would offend any group or individual inside or outside the mini bus.
However, in relation health and safety the draft suggested that the busses should be kept clean and tidy at all times and that, drivers should perform a daily examination on the bus engine, brakes, and other peripheral parts.
Meanwhile, addressing many complaints that rose about buses that are unfit causing physical damage to persons, the preliminary document proposed that operators would have to ensure that the interior of the bus is safe and would not cause injuries to passengers.
These among other things were covered in the draft.
It highlighted and reinforced traffic laws in relation to drinking and driving and speaking on the cellular phone while driving.
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