TO put it simply, the PTSCs problems are primarily
a lack of buses, traffic congestion, vagrancy and joy-riding,
according to CEO Edison Isaac.
Perhaps the most crucial, though, is the shortage in buses.
By Mr Isaacs account, the corporation needs about
225 buses to adequately meet demand but right now only 82
buses are operable.
The PTSC is now waiting for 25 new buses, and an additional
12 articulated double buses are expected from Brazil.
If the math is done, the corporation would still only have
119 buses when the new ones arrive. Even if the articulated
buses are taken as two, that still only adds up to 131 buses,
woefully short of the full complement of 225 that Mr Isaac
said is needed.
And that is assuming the buses that are operational now
remain operational. What Mr Isaac did not say was how many
buses are not running and how often buses go down. In other
words, he did not talk about the corporations efficiency
where the buses are concerned.
That is important because if the PTSC is to improve its
service, simply putting more buses on the road will not
be enough. The corporation will also need to look at how
efficient it is in terms of managing its resources.
It is safe to say that the purchase of new buses will remain
a fixture of the PTSCs management. It must, since
it is only natural that buses will need to be replaced from
time to time.
Whether it is a lack of resources or inadequate management,
it is the commuters who suffer.
The Trinidad Guardians series on public transport
has highlighted just how hard it is for commuters to simply
get to work and back. They are forced to endure long lines
and long waits with a schedule that seems unreliable.
The fact that more buses are expected would be of little
comfort to those travellers. While the corporation is doing
something to help the situation, the fact is that it will
continue to suffer from a shortage of buses.
For a commuter, a few more buses might mean a reduced wait
but a wait all the same.
The other problem Mr Isaac spoke about was traffic congestion.
That is something that affects everybody on the roads in
T&T, not just those using the public transport system.
Traffic has become almost a way of life, extending beyond
rush hour to all times of the day.
Traffic congestion, Mr Isaac said, causes long delays. He
added that an increase in buses could help solve the problem.
But it is a chicken-and-egg situation. If there were a better
public transport system, more people would leave their cars
home to use PTSCs services. That would lead to less
congestion and a smoother flow for buses. But with public
transport as it is now, why would anybody want to leave
their car home?
As the congestion issue shows, any improvement in PTSC has
to be part of a wider transportation improvement plan.
Transport Minister Franklin Khan unveiled several measures
a few weeks ago that should help to alleviate the situation,
especially in relation to the use of the Priority Bus Route
but it is essential that all of these initiatives are put
in place together.
The disparity between the number of buses needed at the
PTSC and those that are on order shows that more work has
to be done to come up with a comprehensive transportation
To begin with, the new buses that are expected cannot by
themselves alleviate the rush-hour traffic congestion.
Unfortunately, for now and for the foreseeable future, long
lines and an erratic schedule will be the reality of the
thousands of people who use the public transport system.