The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) intends to purchase 25 new buses to boost the island’s public transportation service.
Currently, there are only 11 serviceable buses in Tobago, which needs a minimum of 30 buses to run a reliable public transportation service, Chief Secretary Orville London disclosed at Wednesday’s (July 8) post Executive Council weekly media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.
This does not include the three buses used to transport Tobago’s elderly and differently abled.
London said he received information that the Public Transport Service Corporation’s new CNG buses are not suitable for Tobago, which means there will be no improvement of Tobago’s public transport woes in the near future.
“There is no CNG plant in Tobago, and again my information is subject to correction that most of the new CNG buses are not really manufactured to suit the Tobago terrain,” the Chief Secretary said.
“So unless we have an approach that takes into consideration the situation in Tobago in ordering new buses, we are likely to be in this position for a very long time.”
To ensure a reliable service, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), London said, is currently in talks to purchase 25 new buses from a Brazilian manufacturer. These buses will be utilised by the Maxi Taxi Association and the THA, and will also supplement Tobago’s PTSC fleet.
“That is something that cannot be easily done by going to the manufacture to purchase,” he explained. “We have to make arrangements with the bank and the maxi taxi operators, who have to get their mortgages. That particular situation is taking a little more time than anticipated.”
London said the Brazilian government’s recent decision to reduce their support and concessions to that country’s transportation industry has resulted in significant job losses, and will likely increase the cost of the buses.
Still, the Chief Secretary is assuring the public that the Assembly will work to improve public transport on the island.
“We remain committed to ensuring that that particular transaction is completed and that we can use our own initiative to bring some relief in that particular area,” London stated.