busThe new bus routes and schedules for the Northern Zone are expected to come into effect on May 22nd. But as we
ve told you before Northern Bus Operators are not satisfied with the schedules and routes they received and on the day the new schedules and routes were presented to them they even walked out of the meeting held in Belmopan.

After the meeting was held 11 bus operators of the Orange Walk District formed the Northern Bus Operators. They have been silent about the entire situation, only showing their discontent by writing a letter to the CEO of the Ministry of Transport Candelaria Saldivar. In the letter the bus operators requested a meeting for today, May 17th with members of the Ministry of Transport including Minister Melvin Hulse. But there was no such meeting; in fact the bus operators did not even receive a reply to their request.

So today the Northern Bus Operators in support of the President of the Belizean Bus Association which they all belong to and other bus operators from across the country, decided to break the silence.

This afternoon President of the B.B.A Thomas Shaw told CTV3 News he is dissatisfied with the Ministry of Transport.

Thomas Shaw- President Belizean Bus Association

“After you have been operating for many years and I am talking about my bus operators after you have actually paved the way and actually been in the business for all these years and establish a business and then you are going to be removed it is like starting all over again. I am here today because most of the operators are dissatisfied and are not in agreement with this and mainly as the president I am pleading to the minister to actually put a hold on this thing. The main problem is with the new comers and we are not against the zoning it is good and working in the west. What my operators are saying is that as existing operators they are willing to take slots and remain in the runs that they presently have and then we go from there. As it is it is unfair for you to bring in a new comer overnight on somebody that has been operating for many, many years.”

During a talk show yesterday in Belize City Minister of Transport Melvin Hulse mentioned that it was only Orange Walk bus operators who were dissatisfied with the new routes and schedules and that all the routes given out were actually applied for. But according to Shaw there is no truth to what the Minister said on national television.

Thomas Shaw- President Belizean Bus Association

“What they got back was not what they applied for so I would like to make that clear, the operators did apply but the runs that they got back were not the runs that they were doing nor the runs that they applied for.

Carmelita Perez- Reporting

“Do you know about other bus operators apart from BBOC and those here in the north that have a problem with the new schedules and routes?”

shawThomas Shaw- President Belizean Bus Association

“Well all bus operators basically have a problem with it because moving someone from the west and putting them in the north you got to take way something from somebody in the west or in the north to accommodate BBOC you’ve got to take away something from Mr. Chell or Mr. Cabrera or some other bus operator to accommodate these bus operators.”

Belize Bus Owners Cooperative, presently operating from Belize City to the Western Border and back, was also affected by the new routes and schedules. Presently they have 18 runs, but come May 22nd they will only have 12 runs and thats here in the north.

Claude Frazer- Chairman B.B.O.C“We are facing the same thing as new comers are just coming and they are overthrowing us which we were promised by the minister that no new comers would have been in this bus shuffling. When National Transport had collapsed it was BBOC that was called to take out these runs they had moved out of the west stating that we were drivers of the east and we were responsible for these runs.”

Thomas Shaw- President Belizean Bus Association

“You hear that there is certain operators out there that and other bus operators that are actually running or facing the operation that Chuc’s Bus Line will be doing in the west and I am not afraid to say Chuc’s Bus Line because he personally called me and said Mr. Shaw they are giving me the runs in the west. I think it is unfair because due to the fact that Mr. Chuc has two gas stations he do the U.B run from San Ignacio to Belmopan and Belmopan to Belize City. He has a government contract which is a school run, come on what else can that man ask for live and let live.”

So is there going to be a protest? Bus operators say it would be the last resource because first and foremost they need to think about the commuters.

Abner Chell- Chells Bus Service

“It would be the last thing that we would want to affect our commuters because we have been serving them for many years and without them we would not be here today. We thank them for the support they are giving us today and for their patronage. We are trying to take it true another avenue and as our president says if we can’t get it the pacific way then we will have to come to our members and take another approach to it.”

Thomas Shaw- President Belizean Bus Association

“We really like to see that on the 22nd they put a halt on this implementation. Let’s go back to the table lets revisit the schedules and let’s come together, we are willing, we are not here to fight against the government, and we are willing to work because that is my objective from the time we got started it is not about the p’s it is about the people. As the president I don’t see red I don’t see blue I am here to work for the betterment of our bus industry.”

CTV3 News understands that another letter will be sent to Hulse and to Saldivar in hope that the situation can be arranged amicably.

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#1 Daniel Chavez 2011-05-18 17:30
Orange Walk Bus Operators should be the ones to cater to hard working Orangewalkeños. Stop di play politics @ the commuter's expense, Mr. Hulse... mada fish bwai!"

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