Burgess: 2012/13 Transport Initiatives

February 29, 2012

Three million dollars has been allocated to purchase replacement buses and three additional mechanics will be hired, Transport Minister Derrick Burgess said at a press conference this morning [Feb.29].

The Transport Ministry was given $79.5 million in the 2012/13 Budget, an increase of $3.3 million from last year. The Budget shows an allocation of $19.6 million for public transportation, $19.1 million for Marine & Ports, $21.3 million for airport operations, $9.9 million for civil aviation, $6.6 million for TCD and $1.9 million for maritime administration.

“The Department of Public Transportation receives an increase of $1.2 million which includes a $900K increase for parts. The goal for this department is to provide better service to the community. To assist in making this goal a reality, we have received funds to replace the aging buses,” said Minister Burgess.

“In fiscal year 2012/13, DPT has been provided $3 million to purchase replacement buses. These vehicles will adhere to the latest in clean air standards, serve to reduce the weighted average age of the fleet and increase fleet reliability. DPT’s oldest buses that are less reliable and have become increasingly costly to operate will be retired. Presently, the average age of the fleet is 7.8.”

Minister Burgess said the Department of Maritime Administration presently has 168 ships on the register, with the majority of those being cargo ships.

“In 2012 it is our intent to open a small branch in the Southampton, England, of course) that will initially be manned by one Senior Marine Surveyor. This surveyor will be the primary contact for technical matters on Bermuda registered vessels calling UK and European ports,” said the Transport Minister.

The Department of Marine and Ports received an increase of $270K in the current account, and initiatives in 2012/13 include: extension of the Heritage Wharf cruise pier, and finalizing channel development work to ensure ships transiting the North Channel are able to do safely.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good Morning to each of you

The Ministry of Transport in 2012/2013 has a current expenditure of $79.5 million, an increase of $3.3 million over this fiscal year. The estimated total Ministry revenue is $77.1 million which represents an increase of $3.8 million over the current year.

Other than Ministry Headquarters, which oversees the cruise schedule, the Ministry consists of six departments and I will touch on each of them very briefly.

The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), in its role as the aviation regulatory body for Bermuda, will continue expanding in the coming financial year. The Bermuda Register of Aircraft continues to enjoy a high reputation internationally, and is regarded as a safe, well-regulated register which currently stands at 653 aircraft.

Based on industry trends, DCA anticipates the Register will grow to approximately 700 aircraft by 31st March 2013. This will result in increased revenue to the Government.

The budget for the DCA for 2012/2013 is $9.9 million of expenditure, against estimated revenue of $22 million. Total full time employees (FTEs) will be increased, to meet the demands of the growing aircraft register’s safety oversight activities.

The continued resource expansion is critical for the Department in order to maintain safety; remain competitive with other jurisdictions; and sustain compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices.

In order to ensure appropriate safety, regulatory oversight is being conducted and to maintain this vital revenue stream to Bermuda, the Ministry will continue to support the Department of Civil Aviation in its need for resources in the most efficient ways possible.

The Department of Maritime Administration (DMA) is one in which we take great pride, but one which comes into increased scrutiny from the UK. This department handles our prestigious shipping Registry. There are presently 168 ships on our register with the majority of those being cargo ships.

In 2012 it is our intent to open a small branch in the Southampton area (I speak of Southampton in England, of course) that will initially be manned by one Senior Marine Surveyor. This surveyor will be the primary contact for technical matters on Bermuda registered vessels calling UK and European ports.

This initiative is twofold, as the UK based surveyor will provide surveying and customer relationship services for our European clients augmenting existing Bermuda based services, and also provide the foundation to implement the growth strategy for increased revenues.

An amount of $266K was allocated in the 2012/13 expenditure budget to complete this initiative; however this expenditure will be offset with the projected increase of $200K in revenue from the billable surveying work and increased tonnage.

The Department of Airport Operations is currently developing and redesigning, with the support of Jeppesen Data Plan, a Boeing Company, the new approach criteria for the Ferry Reach End of the Runway in order to mitigate newly qualified physical obstacle penetrations which fall within the approach at Ferry Reach, thereby satisfying yet another new international requirement. $2.3 million has been allotted annually in capital funding over the next five years, beginning in 2012-13, resulting in $11.3 million in total allocated funding.

The Government has announced plans to look into the feasibility of assuming operational control of our country’s commercial airspace. The Department of Airport Operations is taking the lead on this issue.

An initial cost-benefit analysis has been carried out and it suggests that this is indeed a viable opportunity to pursue. Early estimates suggest that it would require an investment of $25-30M over the course of several years; while generating an equal amount of revenue over a far shorter period. Again, these are early estimates.

Many countries around the world, including some of our Island neighbours to our South, have assumed sovereign responsibility for their airspace while others are in the planning process to do so.

For Bermuda, there is still much work to do, many meetings to be held, and many questions to be answered.

The Department of Marine and Ports will continue to enhance marine service levels and ensure that marine infrastructure meets the needs of modern cruise and cargo ship operations in local waters. This Department received an increase of $270K in the current account and is expected to increase revenues by $418K. Initiatives in Financial Year 2012/13 include:

  • Extension of the Heritage Wharf cruise pier to permit the new NCL Breakaway class of ship to berth at that facility starting in May 2013;
  • Finalize channel development work to ensure that ships transiting the North Channel are able to do so with sufficient margin of safety;
  • Progress simulator evaluation and pilot familiarization of cargo/container ship transits to and from Hamilton Harbour at night in order to ensure that 24 hour vessel movements can occur. This will allow additional ship operating efficiencies to be realized through the elimination of port arrival and departure delays which add to voyage costs when operating on fixed schedules to and from U.S. ports.

The Transport Control Department’s current account remained stable while it is expected that the revenues will increase by $2.1 million. This is primarily due to the reinstatement of vehicle licensing charges for seniors for the larger classes of private vehicles. Licencing of vehicles in categories A through D will remain free to seniors.

The Department of Public Transportation receives an increase of $1.2 million which includes a $900K increase for parts. The goal for this department is to provide better service to the community. To assist in making this goal a reality, we have received funds to replace the aging buses.

In fiscal year 2012/13, DPT has been provided $3 million to purchase replacement buses. These vehicles will adhere to the latest in clean air standards, serve to reduce the weighted average age of the fleet and increase fleet reliability. DPT’s oldest buses that are less reliable and have become increasingly costly to operate will be retired. Presently, the average age of the fleet is 7.8.

We are presently in the process of hiring three additional mechanics. I have personally had discussions with the Bermuda Industrial Union, whom I am happy to say is working with us to ensure that the new hires will work a late shift.

At present some of the problems lie in the fact that the negotiated settlement has the mechanics working from Monday through Friday (8 hours per day) when our operation is a 7 day one (19 hours per day). We will be keeping a keen eye on the situation with respect to getting our children home from school.

Thank you.

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Comments (18)

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  1. Tommy Chong says:

    “Three million dollars has been allocated to purchase replacement buses and three additional mechanics will be hired” WHAT THE!!! Wouldn’t it be cheaper to hire more mechanics than three to fix & get all existing busses up to par? Also why isn’t there a bus route during the summer that goes to all the St. Georges beaches & goes along the south shore with stops at every beach along the way till dockyard. Its idiotic that tourist have to transfer in town to go beach hopping. The last time I took physics I remembered something about the quickest way to a point being a straight line. Derrick Burgess theme song should be the scarecrow’s song in the wizard of oz.

    • seriously tired says:

      PPPPPHHHHHHAAAAAAA HHHHHHAAAAAAAA HHHHEEEEEEE HHHHEEEEEEE
      Tears pouring down my face at the Scarecrow theme song!!!!!
      100% on point!

  2. pebblebeach says:

    All this from the same Minister who after completing his due diligence awarded 30% of the multi million dollar contract to build the Dame Lois Brown Evans to a Trust for which the beneficiaries of the same Trust are unbeknown to me, a taxpayer.

    Hmmm…

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    $3M buys 5, maybe 6 buses. Thats it. Sounds grand though.

    • your joking says:

      actually they stated the other day a bus is $150,000…so that should be a good 18 buses and 3 mechanics……so we shall see

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        If your source for that price per bus in anywhere near the PLP better check again. They have not been very good with numbers, especially when it comes to what things cost.

        $150K might buy a very very basic model of the bus. Thats it. Start adding the options plus shipping & that base price skyrockets in a hurry.

        I am not familiar with commercial grade buses but I am familiar with non commercial grade Class A 40′ RVs. $300,000 for a 40′ diesel pusher only buys a fairly basic model.

      • Bermudian@heart.. says:

        3 mechanics real, does anyone know what these guys do all day ,total waste of money for sure…gov..needs to stop hiring..

        • Tommy Chong says:

          Kids & workers are not getting to school & work on time because of the bus break downs. Public transportation is one of the most important needs for a properly functioning society. Their are a lot of things that government spends on that are a total waste of money but bus mechanics is not one of them.

          • seriously tired says:

            If people would stop summarizing and get factual information then they can make informed comments.
            FACT: More mechanics will not solve the problem of the broke down buses.
            FACT: The parts have been sitting in shipping due to the FACT that Government does not have the funds to PAY for them to be sent/released to PTB!!!!
            So yes, lets hire more mechanics to sit around all day on our dime waiting for an incompetant administration to get around to getting the parts needed for them to do their jobs…..

            • Tommy Chong says:

              If this is the case then the provided $3 million to purchase replacement buses should really go to parts sitting in shipping. If they get new buses it’ll be de ja vu when they inevitably break down also. I do see your point but I don’t see the mechanics as a waste. To me the new busses will be a waste. Typical that this is another thing done a$$ backwards.

  4. victor says:

    Perhaps if Dr. Brown and Mr. Burgess are successful in their Canadian libel suit and since this suit is apparently being for by the Bermudian taxpayer, perhaps as they will earmark any reward to be donated to the Orphans and Widows fund for transport workers. If I recall correctly, they are looking for 2 million and a bit.

    Regardless, if it was my $79 million, and in a sense a little bit of it is, Derek Burgess is just about the last guy I would want to see handling my money.

  5. Real Talk says:

    IGNORE THE H8 BRIGADE. VOTE PLP – REJECT OBAUBP

  6. rocky two says:

    What has happened to widening Town Cut in St. Georges??

  7. Oyeah says:

    Will they have enough rude drivers to man them
    ?and how long before another ” I didn’t know the handbrake was off crash” lol

  8. Hmmmm says:

    He is a little man with little angles that cost you and me money. Vote the money leech out!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Now that there would be an instant savings in transport.

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