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A bus leaves the PTSC compound, South Quay, Port-of-Spain in Janruary.

Just over half the population’s using public transport– buses, maxi taxis and conventional “H” taxis, according to latest statistics.

And Government is obtaining 300 more buses, pushing to improve PTSC since its previous mass transit system plan has been put on hold due to the cost.

Work Minister Rohan Sinanan indicated this in the Senate yesterday. He was replying to Independent Senator Paul Richards’ queries.

Sinanan said statistics at February 15, 2021 showed the average number of people who use public transport on a daily and weekly basis is estimated to be 728,00 – about 56 percent of T&T’s population .

Most recent statistics show on average 1.55 per cent of the commuting public is served by PTSC daily .

Over the past five years, trends in terms of the percentage of commuters using PTSC ranged from 6.7 million people and daily ridership of 25,000 in 2015/16 to 2 million and daily ridership of 11,299 in 2019/2020. Sinanan noted the latter was the year COVID-19 hit.

Highest figure was in 2016/2017 with 7.5 million people and daily ridership of 28,777 .

Recent surveys indicated a”lot more people” would use PTSC however the corporation has challenges such as its fleet causing PTSC to operate only half of its routes .

Three hundred more buses are being obtained to bring the fleet up to 500 when it’s expected ridership will increase .

Sinanan said Government aims on PTSC being the number one transportation mode and getting ridership up to about 15 per cent.

Sinanan said at February 15, 2021 there were 6,739 registered maxi taxis in operation – 17 per cent for work and 18 per cent for school .

Also, there are 32, 666 ‘H’ taxis comprising 6, 739 maxi taxis and 25, 927 conventional taxis.

Minister: 12, 509 exemptions up to February

The total number of people who received exemptions to enter T&T up to February 9, is 12,509, National Security Minister Stuart Young said .

Replying to Independent Senator Paul Richards, he said the majority involves citizens

Young said exact numbers are currently being verified . At June 2020, permanent residents were granted exemptions to return.

Also, people who applied for permanent residency and have spouses/connections to citizens have been granted approval.

On another query by UNC’s Mark on long overdue NIB reports of 2019 and 2020, Finance’s Colm Imbert said the reports are under review and will be tabled in Parliament shortly .

This was since the reports sent to the Finance Ministry contained policy matters outside of NIB’s purview and which are government policy matters.

This concerns registration of Venezuelan migrants for national insurance and registration of self employed people. These are two matters on which there is no definitive government decision – other than, at this point – that the registration of migrants and self employed isn’t permitted.

But the reports contained policy on these two matters. As a result a Cabinet sub-committee is reviewing the report to see where NIB deviated from government policy.

The review is also so that appropriate arrangements can be made. It’s expected that in a month that exercise will be completed. Among matters Imbert has been taking a lot of flack for from the Opposition, is the non-presentation of the reports.