Minibus operators protest crackdown on multi-coloured designs
Minibus operators plying Georgetown routes on Thursday morning protested the Guyana Police Force Traffic Department’s recent crackdown on multi-coloured designs on their vehicles.But acting Traffic Chief Ramesh Ashram has explained that the crackdown is on the wrap on the buses, and not on the spray paint designs. Operators have been given time to regulate their vehicles, but dozens of aggrieved operators have decried the move as unfair.Operators lined their buses on the tarmac of the Square of the Revolution in protest at the sudden crackdown by the Police. The vibrantly coloured buses were registered to the following routes: Kitty-Campbellville (40), Stabroek-South (41), Georgetown-Timehri (42), Georgetown-Mahaica (44), Stabroek-Albert (45) and Stabroek-Sophia (48).One bus operator, Jermaine, explained that operators needed more than just one week to get off the wraps from their buses, which he explained is way more difficult get off than the regular spray-paint.“There is a clear coat (plastic) wrap over the design, so nothing can’t pull off here. It (has to be dug off), which will damage the bus… Even if you want these things to come off of these buses, you need to give the drivers a timing – at least six to eight months, because it’s not no easy thing,” he noted.The protesting operators have all had their road fitness revoked by the Police, so they are unable to work. However, the men have claimed that at the time of their obtaining registration from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and road fitness from the Police, there was never any issue with the wraps.“Since Monday we ain’t work, because they said the bus gotta go back and certified, when it already certified before you’re granted a fitness. It’s not a case where you get the fitness and then go and put on the wraps,” another bus operator, Jose, stated.The Route 41 driver pointed out that, for the past two years, operators have been “wrapping” their buses and never had any issue with the authorities. He added that operators spend a lot of money to maintain and keep their buses in good condition, having recognised it as public transportation.The frustrated operators went on to lament that since the crackdown and cancellation of their fitness, they are unable to work, and it is putting them under financial strain.“I is a man with seven children and I have to pay $50,000 rent, so I have to work every day; and this is day two I’m not working,” one driver, John, related.The men further claimed that they have spent over $200,000 to design their buses, and to now remove those designs would incur additional expenses. As such, these operators are calling for more time.But the acting Traffic Chief has insisted that only those who comply with the regulations will be allowed to continue plying their respective routes.