…Bus drivers concerned over Demerit Point System as a result
Bus drivers at the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) are concerned they could lose their personal licenses if demerit points are given by licensing officers during random inspection exercises on the nation’s roadways.
According to the drivers, the Corporation does not yet have inspection stickers and inspection certificates for all its buses.
In a letter dated February 20th and addressed to Bevon Cook, the Deputy General Manager Operations, the Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU) Branch Committee lodged a formal complaint and gave PTSC seven days to respond to their concerns.
The letter quoted: “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 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.
In relation to a specific bus, in a letter dated February 21, 2020, by Cook, he started bus referenced was inspected and passed by the Licensing Division on February 20, 2020.
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.
One bus driver, on the condition of anonymity, told the Guardian Media:
“Bus drivers took a chance for the Carnival because the workers have an obligation,” the source said. “We demand PTSC to send out a letter saying they are taking full responsibility if anything happens to any of the buses/drivers.”
When contacted, PTSC’s Chairman Edwin Gooding gave assurances that PTSC 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,” Gooding explained. “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,” he confirmed.
He added that about 70 percent 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.