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Transport Department to Overhaul National Transportation System

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - The need for a reliable public transportation system to encourage the use of mass transit by St. Lucians has once again been underscored. As part of his contribution towards the budget debate in the House of Assembly last week, Transport Minister, Honourable Felix Finisterre indicated that such a reliable system would save the country millions of dollars in foreign exchange while at the some time help in reducing pollution and congestions on the streets.

He told parliamentarians, that the current poor, unreliable and un-scheduled service being provided was simply unacceptable. “You want to get to the hospital from Babonneau on a Sunday or on a public holiday and you simply cannot, because there is no public bus plying this route at this time. It gets even worse. You want to go to catch the cricket match at Beausejour coming from some far flung place and there is simply no bus running.”

The Transport Minister lamented, “Someone wants to come to the House of Assembly to be part of the 2003/04 Budget Debate and take in the action first hand, to get back the Parliamentary Representative has to use his vehicle to get them back to their community as there is no reliable public bus service. This indicates that we must begin to move and think of ways and means to modernise our bus service and this is critical for economic and social development,” said Finisterre.

A number of steps to alleviate what he termed the chaos on the roads will be adopted by the Ministry during the new financial year. One of the initiatives includes the provision of alternative routes particularly in the north-western section of the country, to ease on the traffic congestion during the morning and evening commute. Another takes into account physical improvements for traffic management, which Minister Finisterre stated would become evident throughout the country but particularly noticeable throughout the city circuit.

Several private sector firms like Glace Motors and Cara Suites Hotel came in for commendation, for partnering with government in helping to finance traffic access routes critically linked to economic development.

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