Concerns raised about safety on public buses

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A letter to da Editor

Dear Editor,

The public bus system in New Providence is unsafe and inefficient. On a daily bases bus drivers turn the streets of the capital into a race track in a mad dash for the next $1.25; displaying a wanton disregard for public safety.  At times the music is also painfully loud and customers are held hostage by the chaos and dysfunction.  Passengers are also assaulted by the distasteful language in the music played and DVDs shown.  Unfortunately, not sufficient attention is being played to the public busing system despite its potential to ease the notorious traffic congestion on this island.

Around the world, public transportation is used to lessen the negative impact of traffic by providing a cheap and safe alternative to owning a personal vehicle.   Yet, on New Providence, buses have become rolling discos or movie theaters, which is fun for youngsters but a nightmare for other passengers.  Another baffling fact is drivers change the bus route deciding where they wish to go, leaving you stranded.  There are also routes that are saturated with buses while there is a drought in other areas.  The problem is the busing system is profit driven rather that service driven, contrary to the prime directive of public transportation. I understand that the buses are privately owned and the owners must make a profit and the drives an income, but public safety is paramount.

As a citizen, I would like the Road Traffic Department to examine the current transportation system with a view to making it safer and more efficient.   Firstly, I think music and DVDs should not be played on public buses because there is no way of striking a balance between pleasure and nuisance for the comfort of and out of respect for all.    A quiet atmosphere is also more agreeable and may also discourage people, especially young men and teenagers from hanging out on the buses.  It goes without saying that the buses should be driven is a safe manner.

Signed,

By Sheleta Collie

  • As a tourist since 1984 to Nassau (yearly), I have always utilized the buses for transportation from Cable Beach – Downtown. I have not ever understood why the Bahamian authorities allow the drivers to be so irresponsible in how they drive -not to mention the music often times being played at a deafening level. I have come to accept these buses as a part of the “fabric of the culture” of Nassau! Some good – some bad!

  • I too agree with the writer. The only way the public
    transportation system wil improve is if it is not profit driven, it should seek to generate enough revenue so it is not yet another strain on the public purse and for this too happen it truly can’t be privately owned because private owners will want to earn a profit. Moreover I also agree that the music and dvd’s shown on the buses are terrible, I was on one bus that showed a movie about the gangsta rapper Notorious BIG, where in it basically glorified drug use, promiscuous sex and showed a scene with a woman topless, and this was during the 5 o’clock hour when the bus was crowded inclusive of school children on it, and about 7 years ago I was on a 15a coming from out east and there was a young lady who was giving the bus driver ‘head’ as he drove and smoked a joint. No wonder people when they get a little money seek to buy a car and add to the traffic congestion of Nassau, because the bus system is so terrible with reckless, cursing, and in most cases immature bus drivers at the helm.

  • Yep, I remember the bus days. Almost got in an altercation this morning in the Marathon Estates strip. This bus came from NOWHERE in oncoming traffic. He swung through some cars, roared through this corner and came up on me in the wrong lane, I didn’t even see him. He stopped the jitney, said what sounded like some dirty words to me, turned his music back up and drove off into the wind with a bus load of passengers. I wasn’t baffled at all, proceeded on my way to the Mall only to see a speedcop writing the same a**h))) a ticket. I slowed on the side of the bus driver, sticked my middle finger at him while the cop’s back was turned writing in his book, nodded my head and was on my way. Felt good doing it too 🙂

  • I agree 100% with the writer. I sympathize with persons who have to use the system on a daily basis.
    Much to my chagrin I have had to use the system on a few occasions.
    Apart from the loud reggae music that is played another pet peeve is that there seems not to be any designated bus stops.
    The driver lets some one off on the side of the road (most times not even pulling over to the side) then a feet further up the road someone else shouts “bus stop” and the driver stops again.
    Same thing happens when they are picking persons up; a group of persons in one area and about 10 -15 feet away some other persons are assembled that he will stop for as well.
    The department has to enforce that these drivers only pick-up and drop-off passengers on designated bus-stops and these “bus stop” areas should be clearly marked as such. Drivers should be penalized for infractions. In that regard the road traffic officers need to be patrolling the streets more often.
    If these things were fixed I believe more persons may be inclined to use the public system especially with the price of gas so high and all.