PSV operators to pay more attention to their trade, customers
Route taxis in the River Van Stand (FILE)
Bus fare is not increasing yet, but public service vehicle (PSV) operators may have to pay more to join the industry and ply their trade in the future.
However, it's not a matter of dollar and cents, but a demand for more time and effort on their part by way of them completing up to six weeks of training to better manage their business and deal with customers correctly, before they can hit the roads of Barbados.
Persons looking to make a quick buck on the public service vehicles (PSVs) and those who need to renew their permits and licences, may all have to complete a new course at the Barbados Community College (BCC) before they can hit the streets.
There has been a course for PSV operators already ongoing at the College, however, the persons taking up the slots have primarily been taxi drivers.
Sharing this information was the Chair of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), Roy Raphael. He lamented that those who operate 'Z' and 'ZM' vehicles "mostly benefited" from the current course, not the 'B' and 'ZR' operators unfortunately. He said, "very, very few" from the minivan and route taxi areas o the industry signed up.
But the Alliance has already created a proposal for a new six-week course for new persons coming into the field and a refresher course for persons to complete before renewals bi-annually.
Talking to Loop News today via telephone, after the recent body shaming incident on a Route 11 ZR, he said:
"We already have a course outlined that we have designed with the Community College and I'm hoping that come next year that will be rolled out and that will be part of the policy going forward that unless you do the programme, you cannot drive a PSV or conduct.
"For those persons going into it for the first time, they will be required to do the full course, and those who are already in will have to do a refresher programme every two years in order to have their licences renewed."
And he assured that because customer service training is so important, that talks are underway to make even the initial BCC course mandatory as it applies to all PSV operators. This way all operators are impacted, not just the route taxis and minivans, so they don't feel discriminated or 'picked-on'.
"The course at BCC teaches customer relations and the importance of customer relations. But a lot have not benefited from the course. It is not a compulsory programme. It is totally up to the owner and operator basically to be part of the programme. But what we are saying that we have had discussions with the Ministry of Transport and the Prime Minister's Office, and we've suggested to them that they make it compulsory, where for you to get a PSV licence you should at all times go through a training programme," added Raphael.
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