Boost to buses as more staff are hired

  • Walter Roban, Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs (File photograph)

More buses will be on the roads after the Government lifted a hiring freeze for the Department of Public Transportation, Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said yesterday.

Mr Roban said a total of 14 maintenance positions had been left unfilled — “almost half” of the required staff.

But now four mechanics have been found locally to speed up repairs.

Mr Roban said that route cancellations should fall “considerably” over the coming weeks.

He added that bus cancellations have been a daily event, but numbers were gradually coming down.

In addition to more mechanics, four new buses are planned for the coming year and a Request for Proposal is to be issued for extra vehicles.

Minibuses hired for school pupils were contracted for the present term and Mr Roban said he was optimistic that the extra service would not be required after this year.

Mr Roban added: “It was always only a temporary measure.”

The minibuses in a two-week period made 250 runs carrying almost 6,000 passengers.

Mr Roban added that ferry services had improved this year and the contract for the Millennium ferry would not be renewed.

He said the Government was “committed to working with the police to implement roadside sobriety testing during this Parliamentary year”.

Mr Roban added it has been 15 years since the island’s last transportation plan was conducted.

He pledged to hold a review, with the public being given an opportunity for input, to develop a Green Paper on the future of local transport.