It's good of the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday to editorialize of the public bus service and of the need for the responsible authority ---The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC)--- to launch a better marketing programme.
As a regular commuter along the Arima-Port of Spain-Arima and Port of Spain-Petit Valley-Port of Spain routes ---the hassle of the jammed-up traffic's too much for me--- my preferred choice is the PTSC; but, I'm afraid, the PTSC oft-times behaves like the errant spouse ---she does not adequately reciprocate her appreciation that it's she from whom, above all others, I've chosen to hitch a ride. Here's why I've drawn such a conclusion:
- Along the Priority Bus Route ---whereon the Arima-Port of Spain-Arima buses ply:
- When you see a bus stop, or a bus stop shed, what you see is not necessarily what you get ---a bus stop is not necessarily a bus shed and vice versa.The so-called Limited-stop bus service (Express Commuter Service [ECS]) ---fares for which cost almost double that of "All-stop" buses ($4/$2.50)--- invariably stops at stops set some 30-40 metres away from the bus stop sheds where all "All-stop" buses stop and, at some bus stops, not at all.
- Some crucial points are not blessed with any kind of bus stop, e.g.: between Morvant Junction and Seventh Avenue, Barataria; then, eastbound between Carib Brewery, Champs Fleurs and Farm Road, St. Joseph; then, at Centenary Street, Tunapuna; then at St. Michael Road, Tacarigua; then between Five Rivers Crossing and Railway Road, railway Village, Arouca; then between Lopinot Road, Arouca and Second Crossing, Arouca.
- Arima-bound ECS buses depart City Gate, Port of Spain, every half-hour ---matters not the crowd patiently waiting for one, the crowd from which PTSC already collected fares via prepaid tickets--- but, just a stone's throw away, for just a dollar more than the PTSC fare, a maxi-taxi at any time may be had.
- There's not a map anywhere installed, or printed for sale, to show where, for the various routes, the stops are located.
- Many times, on approaching a bus stop, drivers do not reduce speed or get into the left lane the better to observe if commuters there are awaiting.The practice is even more rampant if, perchance, there's a maxi taxi illegally hogging the bus stop bay.
- If you don't have a prepaid ticket, you don't have a chance, for bus drivers are banned from the onboard selling of any ticket to ride.
- The trailer-compartment of air-conditioned articulated buses somehow always are hot, as if the vents are clogged/closed.
- The sills are not properly cleaned ---dust lingers on them...what else, I shudder to think.
- Along the Port of Spain-Petit Valley-Port of Spain route:
- The service runs only once per hour, at the top of the hour ---meaning, at best, hourly, in any one direction, only 49 persons may use it, for 49's the seating capacity of the bus type regularly exposed on that route.
- The buses often get stuck in the horrendous St. James traffic jams, for along Western Main Road, St. James they must pass. In truth, more than once have I found myself stuck in such horrible St. James traffic, that, by kind permission of "Baldhead" ---one of the regular drivers--- I would get off, go shopping, then come back aboard just 10-15 metres beyond where I'd disembarked!
- Because of point 2., the schedule regularly gets screwed.
- Points 4., re: Along the Priority Bus Route, also applies.
- Points 6., re: Along the Priority Bus Route, also applies
- Points 7., re: Along the Priority Bus Route, also applies.
- The service is severely curtailed or entirely non-existent on weekends and Public Holidays.
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