BIU Responds To Beach Shuttle Concerns

August 6, 2014

The Bermuda Industrial Union [BIU] has addressed concerns regarding the introduction of a beach bus shuttle and its effect on member bus operators, with a letter addressed to Minister of Tourism Development and Transport Shawn Crockwell citing transportation issues arising as a result of the new shuttle.

BIU President Chris Furbert said, “The Bermuda Industrial Union was extremely concerned when we learned on Monday, August 4, 2014 that a partnership had been formed between the Ministry and the West End Development Corporation to provide a minibus beach shuttle service from Dockyard to the South Shore beaches.

“We are aware that a press release was sent to the media on July 30, 2014 at 4.13pm, however, as that was the day before the two day Cup Match holiday, many of us had no knowledge of this new service until Monday, August 4, 2014.

“In addition to the fact that we were not consulted nor informed that this service would be provided, in spite of the fact that this service directly affects our members who are bus operators, we are also concerned how this new initiative is affecting our cruise ship visitors.”

“For your information, I have included a copy of an e-mail sent to me by Sister Kathy Landy, President of the Bus Operators and Allied Workers Divisions, describing the chaos at Dockyard on Monday, August 4, 2013.

“I would be happy to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss this matter further.”

The e-mail in question, written by President of the Bus Operators and Allied Workers Divisions Kathy Landy, said, “This is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed before tomorrow.

“On behalf of the Bus Operators & Allied workers, we would like to bring to your attention some concerns regarding WEDCO’s decision to eliminate the bus shuttle service from the GTA area.

“Monday, August 4, the operators noted extra long lines of tourists at the ticket booth as they had chosen to purchase a bus pass for $25 for two days as opposed to a voucher that could be purchased for $16 for a round trip to Horseshoe Bay Beach.

“Operators leaving the Maritime Museum encountered long lines of tourists, having to leave with a full bus from that first stop. WEDCO Management did not consider the choices of visitors, thus the locals are being deprived of transportation to Hamilton for hours.”

“Some have traveled to the Dockyard on the bus to catch a bus or Ferry to Hamilton. Operators reaching Horseshoe Bay via Hamilton were bombarded with tourists seeking to travel to the Ferry Terminal to get back to their ship in Dockyard.

“The Breakaway and the Summit arrive on August 6, carrying more than 5,666 passengers who cannot be be serviced by the mini van buses alone.

“August 4 proved that there was a shortage of transportation for tourist & locals. WEDCO needs the assistance of the buses to transport the cruise ship passengers to the beach.

“Looking forward to an urgent meeting to be proactive in resolving the chaos of tomorrow.”

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Comments (48)

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  1. Creamy says:

    It’s called “competition”. It’s what people in the real world have to live with, Chris Furbert. And our tourism product will improve as a result.

    • Fresh Prince says:

      Creamy, it would appear you have not read the letter. The BIU is not complaining about competition. The concerns raised are quite valid and have nothing to do with preservation of Bus Operator jobs, rather, the issue is that the proposed mini-bus solution does not, in the view of the BIU, meet the needs of the tourists and locals efficiently. There has been an offer to meet to resolve the issue.

      • Creamy says:

        They’re whining about “not being consulted” and the “effects on their members”. Until now they’ve never raised any concern about tourists or locals being inconvenienced – in fact they’ve caused the inconvenience.

        And suddenly they’re open to talk, yet the reorganizing of bus schedules has been put off for years because they refuse to discuss it.

        • Black Soil says:

          News Flash Chris: The BIU does not run Bermuda. And may God protect us from that ever happening.

      • George says:

        Your comment makes no sense and only your lack of understanding of the role of Unions. This is a transportation service management issue i.e. how to improve the uplift of tourists from Dockyard to South Shore beaches and back. The BIU don’t need to be consulted over every little decision that the PTB make, that is not the Unions role nor should it be. This is an operations issue that needs to be dealt with by PTB/WEDCO management. If Bus operators have concerns and ideas about addressing those concerns they should approach PTB management first and foremost about the matter not go running to the BIU every time they have a concern. This is a perfect example of the BIU over stepping their authority! Know your role/responsibilities and work together so everyone can achieve them together!

    • Garrus says:

      If it was about fair competition, the buses would still be allowed into the terminal area and people could choose taxi, minibus, or public transportation. This new scheme is nothing more than Wedco trying to muscle out the competition. Tourists were lined up by the hundreds today because they did not want to travel by minibus!

    • Dockyard Lackey says:

      This issue has been ongoing since the arrival of the Mega Ships. Trying to catch a scheduled PTB bus last summer from Sandys and Southampton was almost impossible. I got fed up seeing the “special” busses drive past and the scheduled busses also drive past crammed with visitors. Some points to consider.

      1. There are not enough mini busses to cope with the cruise ship season demands.
      2. Taxis are willing provide a ride to the beaches, but many are reluctant to make the return trip with damp, sandy passengers.
      3. We need additional PTB busses to assist private enterprise, but not to the detriment of locals utilizing public transport.

      Another point that needs answering. Where are the mini bus drivers going to earn their keep during the off season months. It’s my bet they will be mothballing their busses and crying out for a rebate on their TCD license fees

    • Rhonda Neil says:

      It had got to be a conflict of interest, with WEDCO profiting from the use of the mimi bus services.

    • ole Onion says:

      @creamy can’t you see the bigger picture ? This oba government is creating a sea of chaos across the island . For obvious reasons .. Hmmm go figure ? Three sides to every coin !!

  2. bdaboy says:

    If the bus drivers had the will and desire to provide reliable service, this wouldn’t be needed. Unfortunately, they don’t, so the private sector has to fill the gap. The BIU did this to themselves, again.

    • PBanks says:

      “Operators leaving the Maritime Museum encountered long lines of tourists, having to leave with a full bus from that first stop. WEDCO Management did not consider the choices of visitors, thus the locals are being deprived of transportation to Hamilton for hours.”

      I think this is the crux of the matter, not any issue with the public buses ‘not doing their job’. What I get from this is that tourists are overloading the buses, and locals are thus unable to get on an available bus.

      Maybe there are other factors at play, but it wouldn’t hurt for the stakeholders from Wedco, BIU, Govt and the Taxi Association to get together often during the summer months so get everything ironed out so everyone can have a smoother ride.

      • In the know says:

        The problem is that the people that are selling the bus tokens/passes are not telling the tourist that there is a shuttle for them to the beach. they are finding out after they have already purchased their passes/tokens for the bus and do not want to spend additional money for a minibus to take them to the beach, hence the reason for the long lines/wait for a bus. The minibus shuttle service needs to be advertised better to the tourist.

  3. Franklin Jr says:

    We shall we shall we shall not be moved!

  4. pressing the flush says:

    Ehis is not the biu’s concern.

    The real concern should be the rip off fare charge of $16.

  5. arthur conan doyle says:

    I thought the email to the DoT was quite reasonable – they wanted to find a solution.
    But this: “In addition to the fact that we were not consulted nor informed that this service would be provided, in spite of the fact that this service directly affects our members who are bus operators, we are also concerned how this new initiative is affecting our cruise ship visitors” is unnecessarily confrontational

  6. JH says:

    The real concern here is having a reliable service that isn’t regularly interrupted for ‘meetings’ – without any warning.

    Since this was the case last year, BIU and the bus service should understand and expect WEDCO to try and make other arrangements.

    Perhaps CF should ‘bring the island to a standstill’ over this – just like he says he can.

  7. ya right says:

    The BIU is garbage. What a waste of an email and a story.

  8. Confused says:

    What am I missing here? How did adding a private shuttle increase the number of tourists using the bus?

    • concerned ambassador says:

      Ok the problem here is that they are promoting and selling the day bus pass on the ship and not informing passengers that they have more efficient and in some cases less expensive options.

  9. Just a matter of time says:

    The bus drivers do give reliable service 99% of the time. That’s a pretty damn good record. We are known worldwide for our efficient bus service. I catch the bus everyday and they are usually on time. These Special buses from Dockyard are needed or else the locals are out of luck. The buses are still an efficient and affordable mode of transportation as well as the fast ferries which are now loved and appreciated but had great resistance when EB introduced them! Smh.

    • bdaboy says:

      “. We are known worldwide for our efficient bus service”

      Are you kidding me? hate to break it to you, but that’s not what Bermuda is known for ‘world wide’….not even close.

      Bermuda is know for being expensive, with little to do…pink sand doesn’t really cut it any more.

  10. Rhonda Neil says:

    Okay so WEDCO, gets a cut from promoting, the mini bus service. This has got to be unethical, if not illegal.

    • 32n64w says:

      WEDCO is a Quango so there is no competition.

  11. Rhonda Neil says:

    So the reports are that government approached WEDCO, to make the change, I wonder who in government. The Minister or PTB.

  12. just wondering says:

    given the actions of the BIU in recent monehts re wildcat strikes causing inconvienence and damage to the islands reputation i for one feel this attempt at rational negotiation is utterly lacking in credibility – i am sorry to have to say this but it appears the BIU want to keep all the “bulk” transport of tourists to themselves so when they next go out on some strike it will (again) cause massive disruption

    • Evie says:

      Well there was no strike and still massive disruption who you looking to blame now could it be the government oh I forgot everything’s better with OBA on it hahahahaha SMDH

    • ya right says:

      Chris Furbert tries to get himself involved in too much. So what if they have a mini bus service. If the mini buses provides tourists with a better service than the not so reliable buses then so be it. Bermuda needs to offer more services and give tourist the best experience possible.

  13. Concerned Citizen says:

    Typical OBA “business minded” govt intervention. Something smells fishy here. Why is the OBA and wedco seeking to make money from private operators? Where is Shawn Crockwell? Prob too focused on “helping” one of his east end colleagues,,, smh

  14. Raymond Ray says:

    If not mistaken, aren’t the pink buses for the scheduled routes? I believe that’s what they need to be doing, allow someone or others with private but larger buses to run the beach service. Keep public buses for the Bermudian public and not for them wanting to go to the beaches. I know the cruise-ships can arrange with W.E.D.C.O.(or whom ever) to do what need be done to satisfy everyone :-(

  15. Paying attention says:

    The issue is that the minibus is charging $16 for the beach roundtrip and visitors are finding the two day public pass a more reasonable purchase. Therefore WEDCO has not made a positive impact by implimenting their service as the tourists get a better deal from the PTB offering. The long lines will continue as the WEDCO initiative neither helps nor provides real competition. The bus operators have a legitamate concern as the proposed service should have been a relief not a waste of time.

  16. Come On Man says:

    This crap happens every year every bloody year. When are they gonna get their collective acts together. The problems seens no one is co-operating with anyone involved. No leadership. We are not a united people, that could collectively make our island succesfull.

  17. Rhonda Neil says:

    “Monday, August 4, the operators noted extra long lines of tourists at the ticket booth as they had chosen to purchase a bus pass for $25 for two days as opposed to a voucher that could be purchased for $16 for a round trip to Horseshoe Bay Beach.

    How could this not be seen as extortion

  18. somuchless says:

    As usual the people in power have no clue and for once I agree with the union, well somewhat.

  19. pressing the flush says:

    The fact no one wants to face is that the Tourists are not going to pay $16 a head….Family of 4,equals $64.


    • Raymond Ray says:

      At that price maybe the cruise ships need to inform all of their passenger prior to going a shore that a round trip via cab fare is a lot less than 4 bus passes. And yes, the mini buses are a damn rip-off! “You catch more flies with honey than you will with sh-t”

  20. Ruthless says:

    Just wondering why a few buses can’t leave from the Terminal beside Prison Officers Club, turn right and go towards town without going into The Dockyard and picking up tourist!!!!!!! The few locals in The Dockyard can still hop on the bus with the tourist. There everyone happy. How hard was that?

    • Ruthless says:

      Also Wedco don’t control the buses coming from town so why aren’t PTB sending buses up to horseshoe bay to get these tourist?

  21. k says:

    I’m failing to comprehend why, years after the megaships were first introduced…we still have issues moving the tourists! Buses, shuttles, minivans, taxis, rentals, and there is STILL an issue. The ball is being dropped….repeatedly.

  22. Triangle Drifter says:

    Most cruise passengers will do whatever the tour director tells them to do. He will tell them to do whatever is best for the ship.

    They will not think for themselves, do the math,combine with others &use a taxi & save a little money. That is too much effort.

    CF is upset. Too bad. He has shown over &over that neither he nor his BIU can be relied upon or trusted to
    abide by any aggagreements.

    So, now there is a nonunionised service that can be relied upon.

    Too bad BIU. You shot yourselves.

  23. College weeks says:

    The people selling the bus passes should be fired.

  24. swing voter says:

    this is so stupid…we pay our government MPs and civil service too damn much in taxes and salaries to manage this service……FIXED IT

  25. Tony Brannon says:

    TOURISTS “HOLD the BAG”…….and that sucks.

  26. Pat says:

    What tourist in their right mind is going to pay all that money to go to the beach? I wouldn’t if I find out that I can catch a public busy for less. As a Bermudian who travels often, I look for the most efficient way to get around . There as many options as there are in Bermuda excluding trains and the competition is good for the consumer. Only in Bermuda are we and our tourists subjected to the lack of competition. The price gouging is driving us out of business. I could see 8 dollars per person round trip but 16 is way too much. I understand the taxi issue with wet seats and sand in their taxi but maybe an investment in plastic covering could help? I agree with Mr. Furbert, this is going to create major problems especially for ships that are only in port for one day. There is plenty of room for the public busses and mini vans to work together especially since taxis are out of the mix due to the wet bathing suit issue.

  27. Dennis Williams says:

    Since there will be no extra buses put on for the cruise ships why are the people selling the bus passes not telling the tourist the wait times to expect if they want to catch the bus? This may make them consider other forms of transportation to the beach…..