Commuters from Erin, Princes Town and Penal experienced difficulties with transportation yesterday after bus drivers staged protests over outstanding salary negotiations.
This as the fares for some routes were spiked for the Carnival season in several parts of the country.
Zalina Shah who lives in Princes Town said the buses are breaking down and she was unsure whether or not this was the reason the bus service had become irregular.
“Sometimes the AC doesn’t work, the bus is leaking, sometimes the door can’t close. It shuts down halfway. The buses are not the best but we still rely on them to get us to and from work because it is the cheapest mode of transport,” Shah said.
She added, “Since last week we have not been getting the buses. It started to get irregular three weeks now. This is affecting people really bad.”
She said she has to pay $48 daily to travel from New Grant to San Fernando but when she travels on the bus, her fare is $12.
“People cannot afford the taxi fares and we need the buses to resume working,” she added.
Joseph Guy of Erin said many people depend on the bus to get out of Erin.
“Since the bus stopped working three days now, people are suffering,” Guy added.
At Kings Wharf, San Fernando bus drivers were seen standing by the terminal. One bus driver said they had no buses to work.
“The buses did not come down from Port-of-Spain,” he added.
Since October last year workers at the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) have been engaging in periodic protest action which resulted in disruptions of public buses on almost all routes.
Last week, PTSC’s public relations officer Patrina Mahabir said the Corporation has been experiencing disruptions to its operations which affected scheduled services.
Works Minister Rohan Sinanan on Thursday accused some of the striking bus drivers of engaging in terror tactics.
He said some striking workers had threatened bus drivers who were keen to work. Of the 25 new buses, he said, only ten had been allowed to leave.
“I respect everyone’s right to protest, but it must be within the law and guided by the agreements we have,” Sinanan said, adding that the Ministry of Finance was sorting out wage negotiations.
On Monday hundreds of public officers accompanied bus drivers in a march through Port-of-Spain to demand settlement of their wage negotiations.