BPTSA Concerned About Bus Cancellations

September 23, 2015

The Bermuda Parents Teachers Students Association [BPTSA] said they are “gravely concerned about the bus cancellations”, and urged the government to “develop sound protocols, in collaboration with the schools, to ensure that our children are safely managed during these unexpected events.”

bermuda bus generic vehicle 212 (3)

Bus Cancellations

The BPTSA statement comes after the past few days have seen multiple bus service routes cancelled, including those along school routes.

Yesterday the Department of Public Transportation said that as a “result of a huge spike in vehicles coming out of service for various reasons including accidents, tire changes and small electrical repairs the Department of Public Transportation is currently experiencing some delays and cancellations of bus runs.

“Currently, DPT technicians are carrying out targeted repairs that will have the greatest impact on returning vehicles to service and a manufacturer technician will be arriving to assist with specialized repairs,” the DPT added.

Shadow Transport Minister Lawrence Scott also commented on the matter yesterday, saying: “Each day, we hear of these bus cancellations which wreak havoc for students, workers, and seniors alike. There are even reports of buses breaking down while in transit, and of buses not showing up to collect students from school.

“Today’s listing of cancelled buses affects students from Warwick Academy, Purvis Primary, and T.N. Tatem and numerous buses from Cedarbridge Academy. How are parents supposed to ensure their children get to their respective destinations?

“It is unacceptable that the general public should be held hostage by these issues. The Minister of Transport must speak to these issues and reassure the public that their transportation plans will not be compromised in this manner,” added Mr Scott.

BPTSA Statement

Responding to the cancellations, BPTSA Chair Harry Matthie said, “The BPTSA is gravely concerned about the bus cancellations. As a parent of a child that occasional catches the bus by herself, I worry at the best of times and cancellations and breakdowns add to the normal stresses of the day.

“We hope, urge and implore upon the persons of authority to develop a better early warning system, a better notification system – in the case of breakdowns on route and cancellations.

“We encourage them to develop sound protocols, in collaboration with the schools, to ensure that our children are safely managed during these unexpected events.

“In the near term, the mechanical problems can get fixed and the staffing issues sorted out but that does not negate the need for a robust method of operation that will account for abnormal situations.

“We trust that those who are actually performing the work have all the necessary resources to accomplish their task and ask that those who are in charge of policy making to suspend or lift any ‘rules’ that will prevent the return of our buses safely and quickly to the streets.”

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Comments (51)

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  1. sml says:

    They should be concerned as its pathetic! almost 80 in a week. Sickening.

    • Regina says:


      • Let's think about this... says:

        This is the back door approach of the OBA. They don’t provide proper funding for continual maintenance for buses, ferries, trash collection, recycling. They allow the public to get disgruntled with the performance and suggest privatize when they intended to do so all along.

        • dream says:

          what are you smoking? really?

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          They don’t have the required funding, they can’t provide, what they don’t have. It also stems back to the ban on overtime, as part of the agreed to cuts, this means that repairs have to be done in hours and they can’t pull longer shifts to make up for the back log.

          • Time Shall Tell says:

            Well Build a Better Bermuda, you would think the OBA have the funding with surplus to spare with the levels of bonuses they’re passing around….

            • Build a Better Bermuda says:

              Not sure what world you are living in, they cut budgets across the board and still need to cut more out of the government expenditures… as for the bonuses, the government doesn’t have a bonus scheme that I am aware of; if you are referring to the BTA, that is a BTA matter to which the government does not play an active role in day to day operations, that is the point of setting it up as an independent authority. They are given a budget that covers marketing, payroll, expenses… and this year is the lowest budget tourism has ever been given, and when you look at their payroll percentage to the rest, it isn’t even a quarter, while the rest of government operates at more than half. And while many harp ion that the air arrivals to the island is down, not many have acknowledged (or just try to dismiss it) that the visitor spending is up. They also ignore how much the BTA has been investing to local entrepreneurs to try and diversify and provide new visitor experiences, and have taken a greater role in social media advertising

        • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

          I believe the public has been disgruntled over such things on and off for years, so this really isn’t anything new… though being informed in the media is.

          Side note… privatisation is not necessarily a bad thing for anyone. All depends on how it’s done and who takes the service over. And no, I’m not in support of privatisation, but neither am I across the board against it. It’ll all depend on the situation and details in involved.

        • Jus' Askin' says:

          So True :-(

        • Um, do we have a Transport Minister.
          How bout if we Privatize Politicians.

        • hmmm says:

          …………or the PLP did not maintain, train or replace sufficiently an aged fleet of buses. we are now paying the price.

          Either way it is no a money maker for Govt, so if someone can do it better and deliver a better service, then why not privatize?

          • @ hmmm: “Either way it is no a money maker for Govt. so if someone can do it better and deliver a better service, then why not privatize?” That’s the bottom line…

          • Jus' Askin' says:

            Only a Fool would want to take that venture on ;-)

        • Sara says:

          @ lets think about this,

          Yes let us think about this. WHY DON”T THEY HAVE MONEY????????? Because the PLP overspent ding dong! Why is this so difficult to understand?

    • Rmeenswell says:

      We to our third world bus service.

  2. Real talk(original) says:

    Worse still is the bus that just doesn’t show. No notice of cancel, just no bus.

    Last week we were left in a panic trying to get our child to school on time when the scheduled bus never showed up (although 3 drove past with “Off duty” signs in the 25 minutes my child was waiting).

  3. Boston Baked Bean says:

    I’m just amazed at how ridiculous this is. I heard a comment last evening that when all the America’s Cup crowd comes to Bermuda that there will be a problem with transport. WAKE UP OBA – THERE’S A PROBLEM NOW !! Kids aren’t getting to or from school; people arent’ getting to work on time or can’t get home in the evening – and no one seems to recognize that it’s a serious problem. Smacks of total disregard for Bermudians and a lot of mis-management. If the powers-that-be would stop worrying about the America’s Cup and take care of those of us who live here NOW, a solution may ultimately be found.

  4. Tourism Advocate says:

    These cancellations are detrimental to the visitor experience. Have witnessed it firsthand.

  5. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    It certainly is a concern and I hope the department is working to get it sorted out.

    I have to say that I have seen a couple of ‘driver in training’ signs on busses so I hope that’s a step in the right direction.

  6. Terry says:

    something is happening and we are not privy to it.

    Speak up Minister.

  7. ..... says:

    Out of curiosity why isn’t anyone screaming in the direction of the Civil Servants? Lets not forget that no matter who the government of the day is it is these same people in these posts. And I refer to the Permanent Secretary, to the head of the Bus Depot, etc. These are the people who’s heads should role for this nonsense!

  8. wwatcher says:

    Heres a thought if the BPTSA if you are so concerned about the safety of your children perhaps some of you members will make themselves available to attend the bus depot and around town after school where children rampage around behaving in a outrageous fashion and getting into fights, there was another one yesterday. It shouldn’t be the Police or bus operators responsibility to look after your kids!!!

  9. Seascape says:

    In addition to bus cancellations, trash collection delays, we have become an island that is overgrown. It is disgusting to drive along our roads and see how the grass, bushes, trees are just out of control. The flowers in the round-a-bouts are terrible and are dying or have grass growing out of control. Tourists do not want to come to Bermuda to see that. If Government cannot pay their workers, maybe BTA can provide funds to pay for our island to be cleaned up. Another idea is to have the prisoners clean things up. Something needs to be done!

    Also, the bus drivers need to drive the buses with care. I saw a bus come so close to the sidewalk going on a curve, that he clipped one of the students backpack as he drove by. There were 3 students walking – I would hate to think what could have happened.

    • Bermy says:

      The BTA already support various clean ups around the island and I believe even donated garbage cans for Horseshoe Beach. The problem is that Parks won’t keep them or the beach area clean. Time to privatize Parks starting from the top

  10. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    As frustrating as bus cancellations are, what is even more disreputable is the comments from the opposition on this. It reeks of hypocrisy. Government suffers from a financing crisis that is a direct result of the PLP maladmistration of the public purse sinking us into debt that leaves us having to spend over a hundred million a year just to pay the interest on. The underfunding of our public transit is a direct symptom of this. The ministry is making due the best with what they got. The PLP show little responsibility for this and disgust matter further when they deliberately use phrases like ‘held hostage’ to describe this, but when the unions hold wild cat strikes… oh, I’m sorry… meetings, that shut down the entire service stranding the public island wide… not a word of condemnation from them. The public transport system is not an emergency service, a missed bus forcing people to wait for the next does not jepordize public safety (another repeated statement that seems to be used to inflame the matters) it is an inconvenience.
    What the ministry needs to do better is providing more advanced warning for cancellations, they need to better predict their resources, assess what they know will be out and reallocate the schedule priorities better and announce their projected cancellations the day before. That alone will reduce the frustration of traveller, if they know ahead of time if they are going to have to wait longer, unfortunately it will not garantee things as there may always be the issue of a bus not starting. Next, they need to get back to ordering 3 – 4 new buses a year, rather than 16 at a time, this will prevent issues further down the road but spreading the fleet age out and reducing the number of vehicles hitting their end of life at the same time.
    I feel and share the frustration, but we are far from an ideal financial situation, so thus we are left with a less than ideal public transport. I just wish people would quit playing politics with it.

  11. BoB says:

    Do not blame the OBA… ( lets think about it ), Busses where problems when the PLP was in power…and now Lawrence Scott got ideas.. which he could have put in place when in power…and for training why back then did government not make sure proper training was done.. and OH yes the PLP where sending people to Europe to look at busses, at whose expence ?

  12. Jus' Askin' says:

    We need to move towards electric buses ;-)

    • Sneakers says:

      May I respectfully suggest LPG, Natural Gas, or Fuel Cells, or perhaps even methane power

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Issues there is fuel accessibility. None of those are readily available in the unit is needed to fuel such a large fleet.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      There are none, at least not any that don’t run on overhead cabling or electrified rails

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        Please tell me You are joking :-D
        Feel free to use Google or Youtube

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          Yes there are electric buses, but do your research further, they are all very much concept trials at this point, where even in the trial cities, with million+ population densities, where they are running single or select route trials, they still aren’t considered fully economically viable yet. Also with several different manufactures running concepts, there is little notion to how the final engineering will play out or even who will be left standing for mass production once viability is obtained. These are comcept that are trials that are being majority funded by the manufacturers and not being mass sold yet, they cost 100′s of thousands, even million+ a bus. The trails are also being put on select routes, from the several routes I have seen, they are prods inanely flat city routes, certainly not with the sort of hills we have here, and that is done on purpose. If we were to decide to purchase, there is no garantee how many we could get, then we would be spending millions to put the infrastructure (fast charge stations would need to be installed at terminals and depots, and possible on selected stops on certain routes, retooling of the mechanics and garages) and then what happens if that manufacturer then decides not to mass produce and cut their losses?

  13. Family Man says:

    The recyclable collections were privatised.

    They haven’t missed a pickup yet.

  14. Tania Stafford says:

    I am a regular bus user. Analysis of routes and usage may assist. At certain times of day, smaller minibuses could be used on some routes; would this perhaps free up large buses for the school bus runs?

  15. Onion Juicer says:

    Time to privatise

  16. Oh,I see now says:

    Someone needs to tell the OBA that the yatching fraternity also uses the bus maybe that will work.