Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley pointed out that just over 220,000 Barbadians had already registered and picked up their new Trident ID cards. (FP)
The government’s requirement that certain categories of persons pin their Trident ID cards when travelling on public transport will provide a fair and transparent system for all stakeholders.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley stated this as she explained that successive governments made provisions for the elderly, children in uniform, the disabled and police officers, to travel on Transport Board buses without charge.
She was speaking during a press conference called to address concerns by the public about the elderly being required to pin their Trident ID cards to continue riding freely on buses.
Ms. Mottley pointed out that just over 220,000 Barbadians had already registered and picked up their new Trident ID cards. The Prime Minister further stated that it was agreed that persons travelling on Transport Board buses would be allowed to use both their digital card and the old ID card until the new deadline date of January 31, 2024.
However, she highlighted that disparities in figures recorded at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic during lockdowns and when public transportation was reduced to 50 per cent occupancy spurred the need for a transparent system.
“We are moving into a hybrid system of public and private and where the Government wants to continue its policy to support the free passage for senior citizens, … students going to school, … disabled persons [and] free passage police.
“Then, we need to have a mechanism that will not allow people to fight over the numbers, and not allow people to doubt numbers. And part of the difficulty that the Ministry of Finance had initially and the Transport Board is that the numbers which have been submitted don’t necessarily reflect the reality of Barbados’ existence in the last few years,” Ms. Mottley said.
She pointed out that while the numbers for disabled passengers travelling on public transport during the lockdown period of the pandemic declined from 22,727 to 5,489 in 2020, and to 4,743 in 2021, the number of pensioners travelling showed significant increases.
“The ridership goes from 1,373,059 in 2019 to 1,584,883 in 2020; to 1,965,995 in 2021; and then 2,205,801 and 2022. I accept 2022. But it is difficult for the officers who advise us to accept that the numbers increased at the very time that you place restrictions on movement to the whole country….
“We were restricted and asking them [the pensioners] to stay at home…. And, then when you add to that, that the actual PSVs and the Transport Board buses could only carry 50 per cent density because of COVID, these numbers defy rational understanding,” Ms.Mottley outlined.
She said that as the Government moved towards a cashless system, it would be one that is fair to the Transport Board, the operators, and persons benefitting from the concessionary rides.
“It is a win-win for everyone. And therefore, we ask people to pin their cards,” Ms. Mottley added