Transport Minister On Bus Service Interruptions

February 27, 2015

The Department of Public Transport has 10 bus operators out on long term sick leave and has implemented a ban on overtime, so the combination  is impacting the scheduling of bus runs, Minister of Tourism Development & Transport Shawn Crockwell said today [Feb 27] in the House of Assembly.

The Minister was providing an update on the recent schedule interruptions with the public bus service, which saw some 40 runs cancelled yesterday alone.

Minister Crockwell said, “The Department of Public Transport currently has 10 bus operators who are out on long term sick leave and the service has been further impacted by operators out sick during this cold and flu season. In addition, the department has implemented a ban on overtime and the combination of these factors is impacting the scheduling of bus runs.

“For clarity there are 196 scheduled bus runs each week day until noon, and the same in the afternoon for a total of 392 bus runs per week day. Saturdays and Sundays have less bus runs. Yesterday there were 10 operators out sick in addition to the 10 that are out on long term sickness, that resulted in approximately 40 cancelled runs which equates to roughly 10% of the total runs.

“Admittedly this is not ideal but I am pleased to say that the DPT staff and bus operators are working together to ensure that the core commuter routes and services are provided to minimize the impact of disruptions to the travelling public that rely on the bus service,” the Minister added.

“Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transportation and the Bermuda Industrial Union have met with the primary objective of the meeting to collectively address the current shortage of bus-operators, due to illnesses and the impact the shortage is having on the bus service. The attendees included myself, the Permanent Secretary, the BIU President who initiated the meeting along with other senior ministry and BIU officers.

“I am pleased to report that the meeting was very productive and some very good practical solutions were presented and discussed and we are confident that this issue will be resolved soonest, as the Ministry and the BIU continue to work through this process together.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to advise and update this Honorable House and members of the Public on the recent schedule interruptions with the public bus services.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Public Transport currently has ten [10] bus operators who are out on long term sick leave and the service has been further impacted by operators out sick during this cold and flu season. In addition, the department has implemented a ban on overtime and the combination of these factors is impacting the scheduling of bus runs.

Mr. Speaker, there has been some delays of certain bus runs as well as some cancellations as a result of the current situation at the Department of Public Transportation, however, I must commend the DPT staff and especially the bus operators for performing very well under these circumstances. The department has worked diligently to keep service disruptions to a minimum.

For clarity there are 196 scheduled bus runs each week day until noon, and the same in the afternoon for a total of 392 bus runs per week day. Saturdays and Sundays have less bus runs. Yesterday there were 10 operators out sick in addition to the 10 that are out on long term sickness, that resulted in approximately 40 cancelled runs which equates to roughly 10% of the total runs.

Mr. Speaker, admittedly this is not ideal but I am pleased to say that the DPT staff and bus operators are working together to ensure that the core commuter routes and services are provided to minimize the impact of disruptions to the travelling public that rely on the bus service. Additionally, the DPT is advising the public daily of bus cancellations via the media as well as on the Government of Bermuda web-site home page.

Mr. Speaker, representatives from the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transportation and the Bermuda Industrial Union have met with the primary objective of the meeting to collectively address the current shortage of bus-operators, due to illnesses and the impact the shortage is having on the bus service. The attendees included myself, the Permanent Secretary, the BIU President who initiated the meeting along with other senior ministry and BIU officers.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that the meeting was very productive and some very good practical solutions were presented and discussed and we are confident that this issue will be resolved soonest, as the Ministry and the BIU continue to work through this process together.

Mr. Speaker, the DPT will continue to keep the public updated on service levels and they sincerely appreciate the public’s patience and understanding at this time. I will continue to keep members fully apprised of this situation.

Thank You

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Comments (29)

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  1. BDA Friend says:

    Anyone know how many days you are out before it’s called “long term” sick leave? Also this number of ill people in one workplace must be investigated. There might be implications for public health and safety?

  2. Concerned says:

    I hope PTB have received the flu outs certified sick certificates

  3. San George says:

    Donate this entire service to the BIU – buses, revenue, staffing, etc. Definite benefits will acrue to the government.

  4. somuchless says:

    The only ones loosing out are the commuters. Tripple sad.

  5. Big Fail says:

    “admittedly this is not ideal”??? This is unacceptable. You think 10 people out on long-term sick leave is ok? 10 people calling in sick on the same day?

  6. Civil Servant and Bus commuter. says:

    Long-term sickness is something that is harder to fabricate.

    Let’s focus on the real issue here. For several years the bus schedule hasn’t been modified despite the change in the demand. There are still areas that are serviced by the last bus at 6p. It’s time for DPT to require shift work. The impact of 10 missing operators would be much less noticeable. Its a better use of the government’s buses and makes Bermuda’s public transport part of the 21st century for the business world.

    • Here – Here! I agree 100% with “Civil Servant and Bus commuter.” There has to be changes made this year so as this doesn’t occur when people worldwide have their eyes on us / Bermuda.

  7. Terry says:

    Over 90% of these ‘sicky’s’ are PLP/BIU.

    The term “We had to deceive you” comes to mind.

    You know the old saying/s it starts at the top and the other ‘it rolls down hill’.

    Hope I did not commit plagiarism…………..
    Truth is a beach with no water.

    Shalom.

  8. Joonya says:

    That is a complete pile of B****** and you know it.
    Unions run Bermuda, period!
    Time to privatise! We have had enough of being inconvenienced by this circus. We need reliable service! Tourist season around the corner.
    They cant rent cars, taxis too d*mn expensive, so get your sh*t in order before attempting to rejuvinate tourism!

  9. Help Me with My Math says:

    “Yesterday there were 10 operators out sick in addition to the 10 that are out on long term sickness, that resulted in approximately 40 cancelled runs which equates to roughly 10% of the total runs.”

    Help me with my math…

    10+10 = 20
    40 cancelled runs
    40 divided by 20 = 2

    So each driver only drivers 2 runs per shift?

    Or 4 runs if you take the 10 long term sick drivers out of the equation?

  10. Somerset Girl says:

    Is this mystery illness contagious? Are passengers at risk?

    • Creamy says:

      Believe me, nobody else is at any risk at all of catching anything.
      Now that the weekend is here I’m sure the bus drivers all feel miraculously much better.

  11. Sky Pilot says:

    NOT ACCEPTABLE!…time for the Buses to be made PRIVATE…
    Fire the lazy lot of these non workers.

  12. Huh says:

    What a total dis-connect in Bermuda today – a ban on overtime and a “sick-out” by unionized bus drivers, Civil Servants occupy Cabinet for 3 days, Thousands Bermudians without jobs, empty hotels & office buildings, crumbling Airport, roads & bridges, a massive budget deficit & Govt. debt, mortgages underwater, bloated Public Sector, lunatic(s) going around painting “ISIS is comin watch out” on Hamilton buildings, possible public school consolidations,….

  13. North rock says:

    Good decision …..no overtime…this is just the beginning of ‘time to pay the piper’….Crockwell, keep your head high…

  14. Hey says:

    I’m sure they’re not that sick to where they can’t get out of bed. They just being lazy and don’t feel like going to work.

    • It’s extremely “strange” that it’s a disease that only affects the drivers and NOT them that travel by bus 5 to 7 days per week :-(

  15. Hmmm says:

    Have you ever thought about how many sick people the drivers come in contact with on a daily basis? This would explain why so many could be out sick at the same time.

    • serengeti says:

      So why doesn’t the same thing happen among shop assistants? Or receptionists on doctor’s offices? Or anyone that walks through the street, or gets on a ferry, or gets on a bus, or walks through an airport, or deals with customers? How do all those people survive with 2 weeks sick leave a year?

      • Lone Wolf says:

        Long term sickness doesn’t always mean physical sickness.

        Some of the 10 people out for the long term could be experiencing some form of mental illness. We don’t know what is going on in their lives.

        It’s the people who are out for the short term sick leave that should be visited (or investigated) by their supervisors, just to check on their welfare ….

        If they have a legitimate illness then fine, it happens. If not, then they should be punished.

        Those out for the long term have to be ‘checked out’ on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis (one would assume) by the Doctors who keep signing their sick certificates so I wouldn’t accuse them of faking it.

        I’m just saying ………

  16. Full moon in Paradise says:

    This lack of ability to consistently accommodate the transportation needs of the public is totally unacceptable. Time to privatize. Too much excuse making Mr. Minister…let’s begin with swapping out the management at DPT. Without public intervention, The ‘powers that be’ would have not have had the decency to inform the public. There have been several times when I’ve waited for a bus or two that failed to arrive……and no announcement was made beforehand. Unimpressed.

  17. Rick Olson says:

    Crabs in a bucket

  18. Scoalsy says:

    Like before a bunch of B.S.

  19. bluebird says:

    The bus operators are out on there (14) weeks sick leave trying to force the Government to pay overtime,especialy on a Sunday at $90.00 and hour as a driver.

  20. Legal Eagle says:

    Crockwell–youre talking as much B.S now as the Union+DPT!! The only answer is to privatise (at least part of) the BPT-+ you+the OBA know it–but just don’t have the fortitude to do it!!! Oh, BTW,thanks (NOT!)for the taxi drivers 25pct increase so they’re a too expensive alternative!! Wouldn’t want to return to the PLP-but the OBA’s no saviour either!! Arrghh–a pox on both political houses-+the Unions!

  21. M Mellie says:

    I just feel sorry for all these sick bus drivers – and how unfortunate it is that they all got sick de same time. They are in my prayers for a speedy recovery.

  22. Ok…i think it is high time to train more drivers…contingincies of good health and or regiment emergancy replacements ready to keep the island on tack…

  23. roger lambert says:

    WILL THERE BE TRAINING & HIRING OF MORE BUS OPERATORS??? TAXI DRIVERS COULD USE THIS SLOWDOWN IN THE BUSES RUNNING AT THIS TIME.

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