This letter is intended to serve as a notice to the Ministry of Transport and to the Department of Public Safety. On several different occasions while on route to PG Town from Belmopan, I have personally witnessed an incredibly dangerous situation, and if we do not do something, perhaps one day – fatal.
Between the 3-5 p.m. rush hours as soon as a bus arrives and the gates are opened many people are forced to rush towards the bus in hopes to get a seat on the way home. This is not just any normal rushing. As soon as the gate opens people run and push indiscriminately, putting children, elderly and everyone at risk for falling, or worse. All this occurs in a bus depot with vehicles passing through.
The presence of uniformed traffic officers monitoring to stop buses from leaving with “standees” does not actually help this part of the situation. People run to the bus to get a seat so that they do not have to stand and then be kicked off the bus, only to go through the process again on the next bus.
This is simple mathematics. There are two ways to solve this problem: 1. Let the exact number of people through so that all seats are filled and no more rushing takes place. 1. Have more buses during this 3-5 p.m. rush hour.
While the rushing and pushing is important to note, it is not the only issue or the root cause of these transportation problems. The issue is also that people want to get home after a long day at work. They have to travel significant distances; perhaps because they cannot find a meaningful, regular and well-paid job in their hometown. They must pay to transport themselves, although some countries including those which have fought for independence from colonialism, have free public transportation, and recognize movement as a basic human right. I prefer that they chose #2.
I think that at the very least children should be able to ride for free. Even with that adjustment, these businesses would make money. Eventually transportation could be subsidized by the government so that travel is free. This would create a booming local tourism economy. (How many of us have been to all of our own Belizean attractions?).
It would boost up the economy as more people would travel to employment that is more appropriate for them and the country. There would be fewer cars and less fossil fuel. There would be more vibrancy in relations between towns and cities. Fewer people would move from rural to urban areas, as is a global trend; there would be less abandonment of ancestral ways of living.
The list is endless. For now, let us have two more buses so that people can get home.
Community members from southern Belize.