‘Money Will Be Used To Fund Minibus Service’

March 31, 2020 | 49 Comments

As Department of Public Transportation workers have withdrawn their labor, the Government will ask minibuses operators to provide the service to ensure hospital staff can get to work, and “public officers that do not wish to report to work, will not be paid for the time” and that “money will be used to fund the minibus service.”

This was from Premier David Burt at this evening’s press briefing, with the Premier saying he is “extremely disappointed with this development,” and “it is only together that we are able to come through this unprecedented global pandemic.”

The Government had previously announced that the Department of Public Transportation was scheduled to provide a daily bus service for Bermuda Hospital Board employees commuting to and from the hospital.

Speaking at this evening’s press briefing, Premier David Burt said, “To ensure our healthcare workers can get to and from work, in the absence of the Department of Public Transportation service — as workers at the Department of Public Transportation have withdrawn their labor — minibuses will be invited to bid to provide this service at a reasonable fee for service.

“I am extremely disappointed with this development from the staff at the Department of Public Transportation, and this afternoon I sent a letter [PDF] to public officers reminding them that they must move beyond the barriers of their job in order to provide service to the people of Bermuda, as they are public officers.

“We will each be called upon and asked to work in a different capacity to keep the country running, and it is only together that we are able to come through this unprecedented global pandemic stronger.

“I have also made sure that it is made clear from the Cabinet, and the Cabinet has full support, that public officers that do not wish to report to work, will not be paid for the time of which they are absent, and that money will be used to fund the minibus service,” the Premier added.

This marks the second time during the pandemic the Government has used private operators to provide a service due to labour issues, as it follows after the Corporation of Hamilton and private truckers collected residential garbage last week.

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Officials are urging everyone to please follow all guidance like washing your hands, adhering to self quarantine if relevant, and practicing social distancing, and they have asked that if it is not urgent, a necessity or work, to please stay home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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Comments (49)

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  1. Let’s Privatize the bus service Now says:

    This is a very compelling reason to finally privatize the bus and transportation services so they will work efficiently.

    Thanks to everyone doing their part during this challenging time and to those that aren’t you are the ones that have to look at yourselves in the mirror in the morning.

    Thanks for the leadership Premier hang in there.

    Bless up!

  2. Rotten onion says:

    Well done Premier Burt I didn’t think you had it in you, I am pleasantly mistaken.

  3. Onion_Juice says:

    The entire department should be disbanded and the work turned over to the private sector.

    Same with Waste Management

  4. Covid-19 Free says:

    So because the drivers would rather be safer than sorry you guys feel it right to condemn them and privatize the buses?!? Let me ask you this how about you get in your car and pick up the workers and take them to and from work and increase your chance of catching this thing! It’s all well and good to hide behind a computer and talk people down but are you willing to do what you are demanding of them??? I think not. So do us a favor and step up or keep your negativity to yourself! Have a blessed day!

    • Bermy says:

      I work at the hospital. Would it be acceptable for me to avoid coming to work because I would rather be safer than sorry!? Absolutely disgusting. They should all be fired, I’m sure there are lots of people out of work that would take their place

      • Angry as hell says:

        @ bermy says – Excuse you, but the hospital is an essential service. You chose to work in that profession. Therefore you don’t get to choose to be safr or sorry. I’m sure if you could choose you would choose safe right? DPT is not an essential service which is why we get to make that choice. And furthermore, what do you think would happen if all of Bermuda decided to get some sort of transportation? I’ll tell you what would happen. WE WOULD NOT HAVE JOBS!!! Now tell me, DOES THAT SOUND LIKE ESSENTIAL SERVICE TO YOU?

    • bigga says:

      I wonder if hospital staff are able to choose whether to stop treating bus operators because they feel unsafe too. Suppose hospital staff chose to say to heck with it and stayed home……SHAME ON YOU PTB STAFF

    • John E. Thorne says:

      If I had a driver’s license for a bus
      I would drive them because it is the right thing to do.

    • Fair is fair says:

      They are picking up hospital workers only. Which are monitored and tested on a regular bases to ensure they are healthy to assist those when the time arises.

      I hope none of the drivers get sick and need these same healthcare workers to take care of them.

    • Fair is fair says:

      So the drivers are only collecting healthcare workers. Who will be monitored and tested for sickness Very closing. I hope none of the drivers need the assist of healthcare workers if they get sick.

    • spoons says:

      But you are happy to go and pick up groceries and get gas? Those places have put up screens. So can buses.

    • I need a job says:

      I will happily drive them! Where can I apply for the job!

    • Kathy says:

      I understand your plight but if you wear a mask and gloves, you should be fine. What so you think all grocery store workers should stay home because they are at risk? You think all dock workers should stay home because they are at risk? The country has to move and you provide a very needed public service.

      Think of the larger risk those nurses and doctors are taking getting on your bus going to work to serve the Bermudian people every day in our hospital. You are not taking on the risk they are taking on and I don’t see them walking out yet.

      I guess if private mini-bus owners are willing to do this scary job that someone has to do and you are not willing to do it, then they should get paid your wages.

      Well done, Premier Burt. I am very proud of your leadership skills in this crisis.

      This should hold true also for garbage collection. It is a public service that must continue even in times of crisis. This could be a great opportunity for Bermuda to put the garbage collection out to tender in an effort to do door to door collection of 90% recycling, including organic waste management. If someone is willing to take this opportunity on, why not?

    • Red rose says:

      Yes. Agree. If there is no PPE for these guys – like customs – you cannot really blame them.
      On another note – this is the second time a labour govt has used private services to get around industrial action and the second time the union has allowed it.
      Three strikes?

    • Frank says:

      Sign me up I will transport our health workers

    • 2wheeler says:

      been there done that so guess where you can go

  5. Jack says:

    If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs then you will be a man my son. Well done Premier Burt for standing up to the BIU. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. These lazy public servants abandoning their posts will have to meet their maker some day and look him in the eye. Will they be able to tell him that they stood up and were counted when their country needed them, cowards, cowards, cowards. Shame on the bin men, shame on the bus drivers, cowards the lot of them.

  6. sandgrownan says:

    Readers of this website will note that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the PLP. However, I have been impressed with Burt’s handling of this crisis, listening to expert advice, and proceeding carefully and methodically. He and, dare I say it, some of those around, him are doing a good job.

    This is a refreshingly progressive view from the Premier.

    • Retro says:

      What a load of self righteous sh*** . “Premier Burt” , lest we forget, is rising to the occasion and protecting those who voted for his party and more impressively ,in my opinion, those who didn’t vote for his party. Leave out the “ refreshingly progressive “ dig !

      If you are genuinely interested in maturing as a society then choose your words a bit more wisely. It’s not a lot to ask from someone, is it ?

      • Sandgrownan says:

        Hold on a minute – if you want to go down that road, the PLP are unbelievably crap at everything they touch and specifically the economy. Almost 20 years of abject failure. We won’t need to bring up the use of race as a crude political tool or the demonization of expatriate workers. Even titty milk couldn’t stop himself making a mistake on that point recently. The PLP are rotten to the core.

        Bermuda is in a mess. And it’s all on them.

        But as I said, Burt is doing a good job (one that he’s paid to do and signed up for).

        • Retro says:

          I’m not defending the PLPs record, although, “ abject failure” is a bit over the top ! I think people have to recognize Burt and co are going to have to make some very tough decisions in the future and perhaps they could use a bit of support. That’s all.

      • saud says:

        “If you are genuinely interested in maturing as a society….”

        Mature societies don’t try to legislate discrimination into law.

        Grow up Bermuda.

      • sandgrownan says:

        How is it impressive that he’s working to protect those who didn’t vote PLP? I think you’ve exposed yourself unintentionally.

        The role of government is to work for all of it’s citizens, not a select group, certainly not just those that voted for them. In fact, it’s important that government works extra hard to protect those who may be subject to discrimination, and to ensure the law works for everyone. That’s why the PLP’s stance on SSM is so disgusting.

        Crawl back under your rock.

        • Retro says:

          “ I think you’ve exposed yourself unintentionally” that’s just a nasty rumour !
          How did this evolve into a marriage equality thread ? I just wish that we collectively ( black, white, gay, straight ) could be a little more reasonable towards each other ,particularly, during an epidemic that is going to turn into a colossal global recession.

          “ crawl back under your rock” yes, I am following the self isolating guidelines . Thank you for reminding me.

    • Kathy says:

      I agree with your comment 100%

  7. Ella says:

    Well done Premier Burt! Well said.

  8. Hmm says:

    Now THIS is a refreshing development and it is about time! Now let’s watch them go on strike again.
    In fact there is no time like the present. Please all congregate at BIU headquarters tomorrow and do just that; strike!

  9. Port 2 Port says:

    If u bus drivers getting upset with people’s post give your job to Bermudians who are willing to do you job! U know full well when signed up to be a bus driver that you are an essential service! You aint civil servants you all self servants! If mini bus drivers are gonna do it that is clear evidence that there are people willing to do your job!

    • Mad as Hell says:

      First of all, WE ARE NOT AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE!!! The PREMIER and all you FOOLS out there who are obviously NOT USING YOUR BRAINS, have you even thought about the consequences? If 1 person infected gets on the bus, and keep in mind the incubation period of not knowing one way or another, It becomes a domino effect. I’ll tell you how.

      1) that 1 person potentially passes it to the bus driver and everyone on that bus.

      2) Now all those passengers go to work and potentially passes it on to all of their co-workers, all of those people go home to their families. The PREMIER and all of you FOOLS who don’t see it, he is putting his OWN LIFE and YOURS at risk. You don’t have to ride the bus yourself to get the potential risk. All you have to do is come into contact with someone who did ride the bus. Potentially all those people that I mentioned earlier can pass on the virus. Putting 100+ drivers out there on April 6, 2020 which is what the Premier plans to due, can you imagine how quick the spread of that disease would be? Bus drivers realize that risk not just to themselves but to everyone. And the Premier wants to do that now when we haven’t even reached the end of the first 14 day incubation period. In less that 14 days we have grown from 2 cases to 37 cases. That should speak VOLUMES to everyone that NO ONE should be out there right now except essential workers. Minimize the people, you minimize the risk therefore you minimize the threat which is the virus.10-4

      • Well done Premier says:

        Mad as Hell, Im not sure you understand.

        There are many essential services right now. Grocery store staff, Hospital Staff, Refuse Collectors, Major service providers (power, phone, internet) and essential transport. It is Essential that hospital workers get to work.

        Unlike shop staff, refuse collectors and hospital staff, you are not handling surfaces, products and cash that the public have touched. And remember a lot of these people working are guest workers here, doing this for Bermuda.

        I applaud the Premier on his stance on this, and as he correctly says, all government staff will need to step up to the plate as many roles are so essential to keep the country functioning.

        Lastly, I certainly hope that none of these folk refusing to work are picking up take away food or visiting any grocery stores – And if they do, I hope those that know who they are call them out for their un-Bermudian behavior.

        Thank you to everyone working so hard to keep things going at this enormously difficult time, especially those stepping up to the plate filling in for Civil Servants.

        For those of you like myself, unable to work, and struggling and anxious with money, rent and food… hang in there – we will get through this.

  10. Anthony says:

    To all those people making negative comments about the Bus Operators.Get the full story before you speak.

  11. Hal says:

    How is it the private sector can collect the trash but W&E can’t . You better not be paying them to sit on the backsides..
    Of course I got caught off guard to day by the new service as they had trashed collected in my area by 8:30am and I had not put it out as I was thinking when they said ‘normal collection’ would start again this week which meant they would swing by around 11:00-12:00

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Not much to pick up this week. The volunteer truckers got most of it over the weekend. I guess the BIU guys get to knock off early & get a full days pay.

      A charmed life they lead. Get paid to do nothing. Get paid to do little.

      Privatise sanitation. A private operator could do it cheaper & much more reliably.

  12. Awakening says:

    Great idea let’s put all the medical staff together outside of protective gear to and from work . Very little chance one can be infected on or Off after case 0 has gotten of the bus plus the buses will be permanently cleaned while on route . Wow thanks Mr. Premier for your lack of foresight….

  13. Truth is killin’ me... says:

    Extraordinary times calls for extraordinary measures. If you can’t stand up for your country then you are not a man. Well done Premier!

  14. wahoo says:

    Oh boy, I smell another press conference from CF coming our way.

  15. Simon says:

    Well done Premier! Next step privatize…you’ll see the improve service and efficiency!

  16. Ringmaster says:

    A least there won’t be any threats of a national strike or similar now the BIU has admitted it has no money, as all income goes to pay the management.

  17. Joe Bloggs says:

    It is a good thing that public transport is not an essential service, otherwise withdrawing labour like that would be unlawful.

  18. Enough nonsense. If it’s broke fix it says:

    This crisis has been very revealing.

    Blessing to all of those that are working so hard to keep us safe.

    Blessings to those that just can’t see how their selfish ways impact society and really hold them back.

    It’s obvious that there haS to be a rethink of how our country’s transport system works in times of stress.

    All companies in Bermuda have had to go through the painful process of planning for disasters and documenting procedures so that in the time of a crisis companies can respond effectively. Corporate BERMUDA continues to function and is keeping Bermudians in jobs.

    Transport isn’t functioning to support those in greatest need. Time for a contingency plan and the basis of the service to be reconsidered.

    It’s broke. Let’s fix it.

  19. Health Is Wealth says:

    It’s easy for the public to bash the DPT, but you need to put it into perspective.
    You are asking them to potentially put their health and safety and that of their family at risk . If there were no cases hospitalised then the chance of infection is low; however to date there are three hospitalised.

    Provide the drivers with the necessary personal protective equipment and then you will have reason to take action against them if they refuse to work . But if they are not given the protective gear to make them feel safe;then you can’t blame them for standing up for their right.

    The bus operators should not be victimized for fighting for their health and safety. If an employee feels as though it is unsafe to perform a task, they should feel safe to bring it to their employer’s attention without being fearful of losing their job or losing their salary.

    On another note, i think the bus drivers should be enclosed in a cubicle when driving, with only a window for speaking to passengers.

  20. Triangle Drifter says:

    The PLP have been an utter failure at everything they touch until the last few weeks. Sure, they could have done better handling Covid 19 however they have not stood like deer in headlights, frozen & indecisive.

    Premier Burt has finally grown a backbone & is dealing with the bus operators. The mini buses could have & should have been requested the day after the bus operators refused transport of hospital staff.

    If there is demand mini bus operators should be able to provide wider services for people without transport to get to grocery stores. They have the perfect vehicles to be flexible & are in need of work as tourism is about trashed for the year.

    • Kite says:

      Lets not remind the people of Bermuda it was your UBP/oba that signed off on 160 million plus guarantee of tax payer money for the Morgans Point disaster that sunk so fast the hotel passed the Titanic. Now go change the name again you sound like the man ranting about Bermudians flying kites.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        Nice one Kite. People are sick and people may die and all you can do is spew political propaganda

  21. Makeda says:

    @ well done Premier

    And I hope you do get through this.
    I hope we all do, but the key is to STAY INSIDE as much as possible. That is the ONLY WAY to MINIMIZE the SPREAD of the virus. The more people OUT THERE is the BIGGER the RISK. That’s all I’m saying. Try looking at it from that point of view.

    I’m sure there are others that would like to help but they’re told to stay indoors due to social distancing right? So what if they all decided to come out anyway and help were they could? There would be more risk to everyone else right? So that’s my point. Not everyone who’s willing to help is able to and not everyone who is able to help can because in doing so it will put all of the community at risk. That is the catergory bus operators find themselves in. It is NOT a SELFISH act. It is a SELFLESS one. Peace out 10-4

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