Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Given what can only be described, to date, as a non-started, many persons here as saying that the E-Bus project is heading for the cupboard, where it would join the Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard.

But, according to one observer, we can only hope that the E-Bus system doesn’t become a victim of the “it-was-their-project-so-let-it-fail syndrome of political parties here.

The E-Bus system, officially the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Intelligent Bus Management and Monitoring System Project, is aimed at improving the transportation sector, enhancing citizens’ security, and consolidating current and previous ICT initiatives.

The operations centre for the system is located at the Questelles Police Station. 

The government website says that with the coming on stream of the project, ‘The travelling public will no longer need to wait at bus stops or terminals for excessive periods of time. Passengers can go online (via a website and an app), to easily ascertain expected arrival times, and will therefore, be better able to manage their time. The state-of-the-art surveillance system (CCTV), monitors roads and traffic, thereby improving citizens’ security by assisting in deterring the commission of crimes.”

The project was funded by the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the tine of US$1.67 million and the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in an amount of US$732,000.

As it stands, the system is, in want of a better expression, under-subscribed and commuters, for whom the system is meant to cater, walk past a blue poles carrying solar panels that serve a monitor lying about mid-way up the pole, which is also outfitted with CTTV cameras.

Since their installation, commuters and others have been seen to walk past a blue pole (unit) indicating that there has been little or no use and reliance on the system.

Checks of many of those units located throughout mainland St. Vincent show a NO BUS indication on their screens; there was no other information.

A recent interview with Mrs. Donette O’Neil the Information Services Division, provided information that speaks to the need for legislation to make it mandatory for the van drivers to commission the units already installed, to be able to communicate with the system’s app and make the information available to commuters.

Oneil appealed to commuters to convince the bus drivers to turn on the units in their buses so that they, commuters, can be better served.

She admitted that prior to the advent of COVID-19 and the restrictions on passenger capacity, it appeared that van drivers were prepared to become full participants in the system.

When bus drivers were requested to give their opinion of the system, most had nothing to say while a few said they were waiting on the media to provide more information, suggesting that they were not effectively consulted if at all.

One driver confirmed that many of the van drivers had not activated the unit had the app installed.

There was much hope and encouragement attached to this Project with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, in welcoming the project, describing  it as “essential to life, liberty and justice.” 

By Carlyle Douglas

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