Flashback: A fleet of new PTSC buses are seen during a motorcade along the Brian Lara Promenade, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.

Bus drivers at the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) are concerned about the absence of inspection stickers and inspection certificates.

They say they fear that this can affect their personal licenses if demerit points are given by licensing officers during random inspection exercises on the nation’s roadways.

In a letter dated February 20 addressed to Bevon Cook, Deputy General Manager Operations, the Transport and Industrial Workers Union Branch Committee lodged a formal complaint and gave PTSC seven days to respond to their concerns.

The letter stated: “This matter is of grave concern to us and we are, once again, requesting that you address it with urgency in an effort to ensure that no driver falls victim to the Demerit Point System. Not only is it in the interest of the drivers as it protects their livelihood, but so too does it safeguard PTSC from losing manpower when employees are unable to responsibly execute their duties due to the inability to drive.”

According to the amended Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act, Chapter 48:50, Demerit Points for Traffic Violations and Offences, “Failure to produce a vehicle for Inspection/Driving a vehicle without a valid inspection sticker or Certificate a total of nine demerit points will be added to the driver’s license.”

The Act also stated that if the driver accumulates points which amount to the maximum allotment he/she can be disqualified from driving for a stipulated amount of time.

Concerning a specific bus, in a letter dated February 21 by Cook, he stated that the specific bus was inspected and passed by the Licensing Division on February 20 this year.

Cook then went on to say that PTSC is awaiting the issue of the relevant certificate for display on the unit.

“The PTSC assumes responsibility for any ticket that may be issued as a result of the certificate not being displayed as required,” Cook said in that letter.

A bus driver, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Guardian Media that bus drivers took the “chance for the carnival because the workers have an obligation and we demand PTSC to send out a letter saying they are taking full responsibility if anything happens to any of the buses/drivers.”

PTSC’s Chairman Edwin Gooding, when contacted assured that the corporation will not ask drivers to break the law.

Gooding said the buses are inspected on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance.

“The buses to transport passengers must be inspected by the Licensing Authority. Licensing Authority does not issue “stickers” for buses like they do for cars, only certificates. So the buses being despatched on routes have been inspected,” Gooding said.

He added that about 70 per cent have inspection certificates and the balance have been inspected and are awaiting the issue of certificates.

Gooding also assured that to protect drivers, a letter from the PTSC is being used as confirmation of this and has been issued to be displayed on each of those buses.

“The problem is when the buses are despatched the drivers are claiming the buses are defective and refusing to drive the buses as part of their industrial action,” he added.