General Manager’s Message: Church Service to celebrate our 63rd Anniversary

The Sharon Moravian Church, the Sixty-third Anniversary Celebrations of the Barbados Transport Board on Sunday, August 26, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.

  • Reverend Movelle Kellman
  • Hon. Dr. William Duguid, J.P., M.P. Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance
  • Hon Peter Phillips, M.P. Minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance
  • Mr Mark Cummins, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance
  • Mr. Gregory Nicholls, Chairman of the Transport Board
  • Members of the Board of Directors of the Transport Board
  • Members of the management team of the Transport Board
  • Sir Roy Trotman, Former General Secretary and Members of the Barbados Workers’ Union
  • Distinguished Guests
  • Staff of the Transport Board
  • Members of the Media
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Morning,

As acting General Manager, it gives me great pleasure to be here as the Transport Board celebrates this significant milestone in its operations. Sixty-three years in the life of any organisation is a notable achievement. This feat has been achieved through much effort and a high level of commitment, dedication and perseverance by staff.

From an entity starting on August 24, 1955 with few employees and even fewer vehicles, the Transport Board has grown into an organization employing approximately 600 persons and servicing about 100 routes across every constituency in this island.

In accordance with the Transport Board Act of Parliament, the Board’s objectives are to:

  1. carry goods and passengers by road within the island;
  2. provide, maintain and operate a passenger road transport service; and
  3. provide such other amenities and facilities for passengers and other persons making use of the services provided.

I am not going to provide you with all the details of our history but will encourage you to visit our website at www.transportboard.com for further information.

As Transport Board celebrates our birthday, I am not going to hide our shortcomings in the back seat a bus but admit that during the past few years, there have been a number of challenges. The Board of Directors and the Management are cognizant of the long hours that you are kept waiting for a bus. We have heard your cries for an improvement in the transportation service and we are acting.

What has been done? The Transport Board has implemented a number of policies and procedures all with one fundamental focus, that is to provide a reliable and efficient service to the people of Barbados while minimizing the strain on the public purse. We have begun the process of improving bus availability, improving our facilities to world standards, reducing wait times and increasing customer engagement and interaction.

Some of the strategic initiatives include the maintenance of an acceptable fleet of buses, development and training of our staff (permit me to say here that the Transport Board can boast of some of the best Drivers in the world), implementation of new schedules and the deployment of new technology initiatives.

Currently, the Board has made requests for Expressions of Interest for the procurement of clean energy CNG, Electric and Hybrid buses and for a Fleet Management Solutions System.
As acting General Manager, I want to reassure all of you that I, along with my management team and staff will work assiduously with all stakeholders including United Autoworks Commercial Limited (UCAL), Barbados Workers Union, Unity Workers Union, Ministries and Service Providers to ensure to ensure that the buses are available to you on time and that we improve all aspects of our operations, to ensure that the Board transitions into a viable, efficient and modern organization catering to the needs of the 21st Century.

To those persons who have laid the foundation, those who partnered with us in previous projects and who will work with us on current or upcoming projects including the Unions and past and current members of staff, your contributions have brought the Board through the past sixty three years to be “still standing tall today”. We thank you for all that you have been done.

I close by reminding you that “Together We Can (My slogan), Together we Will and Together we Must”.

I pray God’s blessings on our Government, our Organization and the people of Barbados and ask His favour on our land, that He may prosper us with the plans that He has for this our beloved Nation.

Minister’s Message: Church Service to celebrate the 63rd Anniversary

  • Honourable Peter Phillips – Minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance
  • Associate Pastor- Reverend Movelle Kellman
  • Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance- Mr. Mark Cummins
  • General Manager of the Transport Board- Ms. Felicia Sue and other members of staff of the Transport Board
  • Distinguished members of the Congregation
  • Members of the media
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning,
It is indeed a distinct pleasure to address you this morning at the historic Sharon Moravian church and we thank you for allowing us to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Transport Board in your presence.

It is with much pleasure that I take this opportunity to offer congratulations to the Transport Board as it celebrates another year of supplying public transport to the people of Barbados.

You might be aware that the Transport Board is mandated to service the travelling public by providing public transportation across Barbados as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, within the last few years the Transport Board has experienced a number of challenges but has continued to maintain its core public service objectives in spite of the challenges it has faced. I recently toured the Board with a team and saw first-hand the issues that the management and staff are struggling to overcome. These issues in turn have automatically led to challenges for the travelling public. In speaking with staff and commuters the issues were made even clearer to us. The way forward is for all us to work together.

To address these challenges, the Government of Barbados, led in this instance by myself and the Hon Peter Phillips, have embarked on a number of initiatives with the Transport Board that are intended to bring this institution to the level of excellence previously enjoyed. The end result of these initiatives will be an improvement in its service delivery and a more efficient and accessible transport system for the travelling public. First and foremost is the immediate plan of improving bus availability.

As we all know the Prime Minister, Hon Mia Mottley identified the Transport Board and the return of buses to the roads of Barbados as part of the government’s list of mission critical policies and actions. We have therefore developed a team to work on the repairing of the existing buses and this has been augmented by an extra shift for mechanics. This is slowly showing results and we have seen an increase in the number of buses on our roads in the last three weeks. I have been reliably advised that when school reopens on September 10th, the Transport Board will be ready to meet the demands of the travelling public.

The second part of this initiative is to improve the fleet by purchasing additional clean energy buses. This is the long term plan. It takes a while to build and ship buses to Barbados so we can’t sit back and wait for this to happen. So the immediate plan is the repairs mentioned before.

We have also noted the issues that are being experienced by commuters outside of the extended bus waiting times such as the lack of enough seating in the terminals and the heat. These issues and others such as safety and security at the various locations are also of concern and are being addressed and we should be seeing and experiencing an improvement in these areas in the immediate future.

Collaborative programmes between the government and the people of Barbados are what will be necessary to move us all forward. The Transport Board staff have taken the steps to initiate something of this nature on a small scale with an internal beautification programme being done by the staff to ensure that the places where they spend so much of their time are kept in a specific state. The idea of bringing plants, painting locations and the cleaning of your surroundings are part of a collaborative effort, although on a small scale, that can be used to improve your daily situation and are to be applauded.

Other initiatives include the greater use of technology for both the staff and the commuters. Areas such as being able to track when a bus has left a terminal and the ability to connect with personnel at the Transport Board are among those initiatives. As we have all heard “there is an app for that”, these will also be explored. In keeping with the technology the Transport is also exploring the use of a smart card system which may be topped up as is done with your mobile phone.

But we must also say that the government is also actively working on improving the revenue generating capacity of the Transport Board. All areas must be explored as the generation of revenue is critical to the survival of this entity. Therefore, the regular route network must be looked in terms of the schedules to maximise not only ridership but by extension revenue. Also the marketing or commercial section such as the charters and advertising sections as well as the booths at the various locations must be allowed to grow. The funds which can possibly be generated from these areas are needed to supplement what the government will be doing.

I wish to express my thanks to the hardworking staff for their commitment, dedication and perseverance. In addition, the tremendous assistance provided by key stakeholders has been important in ensuring that the Transport Board reached this milestone.

In closing I offers congratulations again, on behalf of the Government of Barbados and on my own behalf, to the Transport Board for its role in the economic and social development of Barbados and wish it continued success in the future.

Dr. the Honourable William Duguid, J.P., M.P.
Minister of Transport Works & Maintenance

Video on Social Media

We at the Transport Board, even with all of the challenges being experienced, have always sought to ensure the safety of our commuters and staff and would not knowingly allow a bus to operate in a condition that could lead to a major injury to anyone using the bus.

Therefore the video, which appears to be of a Transport Board bus in a state of disrepair, which is presently circulating on social media, has been actively engaging the attention of the management of the Transport Board and a thorough investigation is being carried out.

It would be irresponsible of the Board to place a bus in this condition on the roads of Barbados as this would be hazardous to the safety and health of the commuters travelling on, and the staff operating, such a bus.

Unfortunately, we are unable to ascertain from the video the bus number or location or either if this is a recent situation and would appreciate any persons who have any knowledge of this reaching out to us.

In the interim we will continue to investigate this matter.

Corrected Media Release – Bus Availability Response to Nation 24-07-2017

It is unfortunate that the Sunday Sun newspaper of July 23, 2017 carried information under the captioned article “Slow Ride” that was both erroneous and misleading at a time when the Transport Board continues to work on its issues with low bus availability that are proving to be very challenging.

It must be stated that we are operating with an aging fleet with the oldest buses being 20 years, having been purchased in 1997, and the youngest being 11 years which were purchased in 2006.  Undoubtedly, this has resulted in several mechanical problems which continue to impact heavily on the daily bus availability.  Of note, is that in the UK buses are replaced every 5 years.

Even though we have been working closely with a number of service providers on the island over the years to address these challenges, the ongoing declining levels of bus availability have forced us to think outside the box to reduce costs and improve the number of buses on the road.

To this end, we engaged a consultant to offer advice, give guidance and to assist in the sourcing of more affordable parts from overseas, as the cost from local providers proved burdensome. The consultant was chosen due to his qualifications, vast experience in the repairs to diesel engines and fleet maintenance management.  It must also be pointed out that the services of the said consultant were requested in 1998 to address certain problems being experienced with the buses that had been purchased in 1997.

He was also mandated to re-structure the Quality Assurance department which is the nerve centre of the Transport Board which is responsible for bus availability. As at the time of his engagement the bus availability had reached an average level of 117 buses on the road and has since risen to a high of 150 during his tenure. The figure in your article of an average of 80 buses on the road is incorrect, and it must be stated that without the assistance of the said consultant it is very possible that this figure would be significantly lower.

One of the terms of his contract included housing accommodation and this is standard operating procedure.   The contract also included one round trip ticket. Therefore, as was said in the third paragraph of the said Sunday Sun article that he is given two tickets per month is untrue. In fact, the only time the consultant returned to Trinidad since the commencement of his contract in March 2016 was two weeks ago and it was at his own expense.

The vehicle referenced in the said article is not exclusive to the consultant.  It is a used vehicle which is utilised by the employees at the service centres as well as the messenger when not in use by the said consultant.

In the said article, it was stated that the engagement of the consultant led to the bus allocation to the local service providers being reduced substantially to a total of 25 buses, in order that they can be “diverted to Mangrove”, is totally incorrect.   This information is particularly misleading when as of 23 July 2017 the same day the article was published, the number of buses at service providers was as follows: UCAL – 43 buses, Simpson Motors – 15 buses, Quality Care – 12 buses, TransTech – 13 buses, L&N Inc – 14 buses and the inhouse Quality Assurance department had 27 buses.

The said article also stated that parts or components sourced or purchased from China were not suitable and now had to be stored in drums at Mangrove, St. Philip, as they could not be used.  This is also totally incorrect.  In fact, the said parts were removed from some of the buses and are now to be repaired – thus eliminating the need to purchase new ones at a much higher cost. For example, a new starter costs approximately $2,500.00, but a defective one can be repaired and returned to operation for approximately $200.00 thus resulting in a saving of approximately $2,300.00.

With respect to the purchasing of parts to the tune of US$40,000.00 from China, this figure is also erroneous.  Since embarking on the process of sourcing parts from China, the Transport Board only experienced failure in one part, namely a compressor, and it was returned and replaced by the company at no additional cost to the Transport Board. In addition, twelve (12) used engines were purchased from China of which six (6) are already in buses working. The remaining six engines are being serviced. It is significant that the parts sourced by the consultant have been deemed to be of a very high quality and this was substantiated by an independent audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and a recommendation to continue to use this system was made.

As regards the last paragraph in the said article, the Transport Board never sent any delegation to the USA to purchase parts. However, a delegation went to Brazil and negotiated substantial reductions in the cost of parts.

On the issue of his salary, the said article stated that the consultant receives over $22,000.00 per month.  This is also inaccurate.  The consultant does not get anywhere near that figure.

It must be stated that since the consultant came to the Transport Board, at least 27 engines were built at a cost of $301,696.00 whereas if these engines had been purchased from the traditional source, the cost would have been $810,000.00. Thus, this method saved the Transport Board approximately $509,000.00.  In addition, 27 transmissions have been refurbished to date at a cost of $7,000.00 each whereas previously to have this same job done locally the cost would have been exponentially higher. To date the Transport Board has saved in excess of $4.5 million due to the employment of the said consultant

Finally, I must stress that the role of the media is to educate, entertain and inform “Mr John Public” but it must be done honestly, rationally and the information must be well balanced.  What was printed in the Nation newspaper of July 23, 2017 was not only untruthful but portrayed the consultant in a negative light and also as an unnecessary and expensive appendage at the Transport Board. At no time did the article highlight any benefits which the Transport Board gained by having the services of the said consultant.  This is quite unfortunate and the reading public has been upset by the article.

Anthony D. Wiltshire
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Transport Board
Tel: (246) 535-3500
Website: www.transportboard.com
Facebook: www.facebook/transportboardbarbados
Twitter: @Transportboard1

Notice: Tender For The Supply Of Tyres

The Transport Board invites Tenders for the supply of Tyres for the Board’s fleet of buses for a period of three (3) years from January 1st, 2018 to December 31st, 2021.

Each tender must be submitted in a sealed envelope marked “Tender for Tyres” to the Chairman, Tenders Committee, Transport Board, “Weymouth”, Roebuck Street, St. Michael. Tenders should be submitted not later than 4:00 p.m. Friday, November 24th, 2017.

Notice: Tender For The Supply Of Batteries

The Transport Board invites Tenders for the supply of Batteries for the Board’s fleet of buses for a period of three (3) years from January 1st, 2018 to December 31st, 2021.

Please read the full details in the tender document linked below before submitting your tender:

Each tender must be submitted in a sealed envelope marked “Tender for
Batteries” to the Chairman, Tenders Committee, Transport Board,
“Weymouth”, Roebuck Street, St. Michael. Tenders should be submitted not
later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 24th, 2017.

Notice: Tender For The Supply Of Lubricants

Tenders are invited for the supply of Lubricants to the Transport Board for a period of three (3) years from January 1st, 2018 to December 31st, 2021.

Please read the full details in the tender document linked below before submitting your tender:

Each tender must be submitted in a sealed envelope marked “Tender for the Supply of Lubricants” to the Chairman, Tenders Committee, Transport Board, “Weymouth”, Roebuck Street, St. Michael. Tenders should be submitted not later than 4:00 p.m. Friday, November 24th, 2017.

THE IMPORTANCE OF NACOSH

This programme looks at The National Advisory Commission On Occupational Safety and Health’s (NACOSH) important role to ensure workplace safety and wellness.