Letters & Opinion

Who’s Gonna Stop these Drivers?

Image of Kensley Peter Charlemange
Image of Kensley Peter Charlemange
Independent Eye by Kensley Peter Charlemange

The unsavoury experiences with local bus drivers are many… too many. They run like a flooded river and the torrential rain filling it is without end. The days when any Joe blow can become a bus driver need to come to an end. 

I will recall two incidents that occurred while being transported last Thursday, which I am sure will pale in comparison to others you, dear reader, may have to report. The first is an incidence of disrespect, unprofessionalism and time wasting. It happened on the Soufriere to Castries route. For those who do not know, the buses in Soufriere take an eternity to full so you will appreciate why this occurrence is so exasperating.

Once the bus was filled, the not-so-young driver moved off. He took a left off Bridge Street, which led everyone to believe that he was going to the petrol station to fill up. Any bus driver who has any respect for his passengers will avoid such a situation of potential endangerment.  Well, you know the complaints started. When we got to the station, the reservoir was being replenished by the tanker. The driver with the awareness that the wait would be long tried another gas station only to find out that there was no gas there. He then takes us to a third gas station. The unscheduled round-the-town tour which took about 15 to 20 minutes was not a peaceful one, except for the driver who did not whisper a word. I mean, how much common sense does it take to know that it is best if you get your gas filled while you are waiting on peg on the line?

The other incident was on the Castries/Morne Road route. The bus was filled, and then some lady who claimed to be late asked for a squeeze. The driver made the request, and then instructed the people in the first seat next to the door to move down. The lady in the centre expressed that she was not moving. The driver seemed to be familiar with this passenger. He was upset at the refusal. He argued with the lady and tried to justify his request. “If you were late, would you not like if someone gave you a squeeze?” he asked her.

I am with him on that argument. I would welcome the accommodation.  He then proceeded to make a few disparaging comments at the lady. The requesting lady is eventually offered a seat to the back of the bus. The driver takes his seat, still upset. I could not just sit there, just as I did not in the first incident. I said, “But driver you don’t have all that to say to the lady. The lady is under no obligation to dress up, to accommodate the other passenger.” He told me then, that I should not look to antagonize (my word) him any further. Of course the lady had rebuked him in Jesus’s name but he was not finished with her yet. Apparently, the offending lady has a condition. So he climaxes his verbal abuse by telling the lady, “that is why you will never walk properly again.” My Lord! How much longer, how much longer must we be subjected to these abusers?

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