AOPT says PSVs 'hit hard' by COVID-19 shutdown
Meeting held in the yard of the Constitution River Terminal
The Barbadian transportation sector has been "hit hard" by the shutdown of business due to the novel coronavirus.
Communications and Marketing Officer of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), Mark Haynes reported that the slowdown in business nationally due to the emergency shutdown has been nothing short of "catastrophic" for public service vehicle (PSV) operators.
"It is a very debilitating situation with which the sector is faced. We know that this sector contributes to Barbados' GDP [Gross Domestic Product] and we hope going forward as soon as possible when things pick back up that the sector will be able to get back on its feet. Right now the sector needs help and as an association, we are here to continue to give whatever assistance we can give," remarked the AOPT communications officer.
Haynes was speaking at the Constitution River Terminal for a presentation ceremony of RUBIS gas vouchers valued at $50 to ten PSV members of the AOPT.
Haynes urged Government and corporate Barbados to help the island's private transportation sector to get back on its feet again once the country was fully reopened.
"We hope that corporate Barbados and individuals who have monies that they can give or offer assistance, we would be glad for your assistance".
Government has mandated that all PSV vehicles are to traverse at 60 per cent capacity to ensure the safety of passengers and narrow the chances of spreading COVID-19, however, this move has directly hit the pockets of PSV owners and operators who were already experiencing fewer passengers due to the shutdown.
"We are cognizant of the fact that we are at some 60 per cent capacity in terms of ridership. . . and this has put a financial burden on the sector which continues to face the brunt of the situation. The sector is here to stay notwithstanding its challenges. We urge the members not to become despaired but we know that is easier said than done," Haynes added.