BELMOPAN, Fri. Jan. 29, 2021– It has been a difficult time for the public transport sector. Bus operators have been required to clean and sanitize buses with extra scrutiny, ensuring that the bus is cleaned at every terminal. There have also been efforts to implement a ticketing system to monitor the number of passengers in each vehicle. The percentage of the total holding capacity of buses that operators have been allowed to fill has been subject to change, ranging from values of 50% to 75% of the bus’s capacity that could be occupied by seated passengers only, and in extreme cases, buses have been disallowed from operating. Bus operators have also been required to provide additional buses during rush hours to allow social distancing among passengers. Passengers have been required to wear masks at all times, and if a passenger were to exhibit flu-like symptoms, they would be disallowed from riding.
In response to concerns expressed by various stakeholders within the industry, the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy and Logistics, along with the newly elected members of the Belize Transport Board and the Belize Bus Association, will be implementing new measures to improve the public transport industry.
The process for applying for Road Service Permits (RSP) will be carefully examined, and there will be increased vigilance in reviewing first-time applicants. Renewals will also no longer be automatic, but will be granted based on the operations and compliance with traffic laws and terms of the Road Service Permit. All buses must be registered in the name of a valid RSP holder or their company’s name. There will be penalties for existing bus owners who have failed to apply for renewal of their permit at least three months prior to the expiration date, and operators without a valid permit will be charged and their omnibus will be impounded. Permits may be suspended or revoked for repeat offenders, who fail to abide by the traffic laws and for those who failed to clear arrears before the board makes a decision. The board will give ample time for arrears to be cleared. As a final measure, there will be regular meetings between the board and the Belize Bus Association to address issues affecting the operators.