BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 13, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – It has been less than a week since Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris announced the introduction of several measures that were designed to bring much needed assistance to passenger bus operations in St. Kitts and Nevis.
As part of its comprehensive and far-reaching relief measures announced on Thursday, July 08, the Team Unity-led Government reinstated the annual Import Duty exemption for 16 tyres (4 tyres per quarter), four pairs of brake pads and three pairs of brake shoes for ‘H’ passenger buses. Additionally, the Government will provide fuel subsidy of $400 per month to passenger bus operators for three months.
These measures have been welcomed by passenger bus operators with the Public Relations Officer for the St. Peter’s Bus Association, Mr. Tyrone “Granny” Browne, describing them as important benefits for all bus drivers.
“This Government is giving us duty free on 16 tyres. Under the last government we got 12 tyres and then the duty free stopped under the last government. So, this Government has brought it back to accommodate the bus drivers and for me that’s very good,” Mr. Browne said in an interview today, Tuesday, July 13.
The relief measures were put in place after passenger bus owners and operators were asked to limit the seating capacity to 50 percent of the established capacity to facilitate physical distancing. This resulted in passenger buses having to make additional trips, which led to higher gas usage and increased wear and tear on tyres and brakes.
Speaking specifically of the fuel subsidy, Mr. Browne said that alone “will be of great, great help” for all of them as passenger bus drivers.
He added, “Most of the guys are excited about this and want to know when it’s going to start. The Government knows that gas is one of the main things that we spend money on every day and to be getting one hundred dollars every week for the next three months is a really, really big help for us. For instance, I’ve had my second bus for six years now and over the last two weekends that was the first time I’ve ever seen my gas lights on, so definitely I’m grateful for the fuel subsidy.”
The Government has since extended the maximum capacity on buses to 10 passengers.
Mr. Browne, who is also a member of the Traffic Safety and Public Service Drivers Board, used the opportunity to urge his colleagues to continue adhering to the established COVID-19 regulations and protocols as they relate specifically to public transportation.
“I’ve been observing the St. Peter’s bus drivers for a while now and I can say that they are really complying with the rules and regulations. There is one particular bus driver who stands outside his bus in the afternoons and sprays the hands of everyone who enters his bus and makes sure that they’re wearing their masks. And so, I would always encourage each and every bus driver out there to do the same thing,” said Mr. Browne.