Public Transport Services Corporation (PTSC) drivers in Tobago returned to duty on Wednesday after their demand to have buses sanitised was finally met.
Commuters around the island were left stranded as the bus drivers refused to work on Monday and Tuesday amid fears of the novel coronavirus.
Last Friday, Tabaquite MP Surujrattan Rambachan asked in parliament what new precautionary policies were being implemented to ensure that all public transport vehicles and vessels are sanitised daily to combat the risk of the spread of covid19. Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said sanitising and other measures were being implemented in the public transport system and all PTSC buses would be properly sanitised before and after every trip.
On Monday, PTSC Tobago drivers were told the buses would be sanitised for the start of the workday on Tuesday, but on Tuesday when drivers turned up to start their shifts and enquired about whether the buses were sanitised, they were told it was not done.
The drivers decided they would not be driving the buses until they were properly sanitised as mandated by the Transport Minister. The drivers claim they were threatened to have their payment cut if they did not work.
Contacted on Wednesday, Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU) general officer Tedd Taylor said the sanitation process began on Tuesday afternoon and the service has resumed.
“There was some difficulty in terms of getting the sanitisation solutions and them to Tobago,” he said adding that this isn’t the only challenge facing the drivers at this time.
“How it was shown on the video sent from Trinidad, management in Tobago is not following that procedure. We are having difficulties, although drivers are going out with the buses after the sanitisation, we are still having problems with how they are doing it.”
Taylor said after each trip the buses are supposed to be returned to base and sanitised.
He acknowledged the sanitation process can be tedious.
“It’s a long process. It’s taking a lengthy time. How you have to do it, it is definitely taking some time. There is a solution to be sprayed in the bus and you cannot be in the bus when that solution is being sprayed,” he said.