EDITOR, The Tribune.
Despite its many ills, the Bus System has been very good to the residents of New Providence. This has been especially true over the past five or six decades. The Bus System transports a significant percentage of the workforce that continues to build and develop our country on a daily basis.
There may be many areas throughout this country where people have been praying that a bus route can pass through their community. I know of at least three such areas that are in dire need of such a service route.
Firstly, the Cowpen and Marshall Road areas are among the greatest areas of neglect by the Bus System and this is so unfortunate! Certainly, the authorities know very well that we won’t all have cars. Only heaven knows what’s really behind this painful and egregious oversight. Cowpen Road is almost as long as Carmichael and runs parallel to it, but the distance between the roads is “no cake walk” and it can be a long and arduous journey for strong and able-bodied individuals. How much more will this be the case for the young, the elderly, and the infirm? Can you imagine walking and going the full distance from the Budget Food Store on Cowpen and Faith Ave to catch a bus out on Carmichael Road, under normal conditions?
Now let’s throw in the hot sun, the strong dusty winds, and the unpredictable rain for good measure. Now let’s go the opposite way from Budget to Marshall Road and all the way to Blue Hill Road. Or better yet, let’s head east along Cowpen Road until we get to the bus stop near “Prince Will.” And, yes, people (not just animals) are walking these routes every day and wondering who’s in charge of busing routes and maybe even cursing them in their hearts every now and again. This is to say nothing of the hundreds, if not thousands of school children in these areas that have been neglected for years. Remember, cars can breakdown too and what happens then?
Secondly, there is the first half of Gladstone Road that runs off JFK. If that neglect is not a disgrace it has to be a very close relative. Have we seen the development of businesses and industries in that area of late? And what message are we sending to the residents of Gladstone Road by only providing busing for one half of the stretch? Certainly, we’re not saying that Peter is better than Paul, or are we? It is my responsibility as a citizen of this country to point out the areas of neglect or oversights that I see. And it is the responsibility of those in authority to ensure that no community, and certainly no Bahamian is left behind.
Thirdly, why are no buses going to Albany? Hundreds are employed out there; but before we get to Albany how about from Carmichael and Bacardi Road to the Coral Harbour roundabout?
So many persons have to hustle rides from that area to Albany from 5am to 9am and beyond. If we had the numbers, it would be astonishing to even the most casual observer. Not only should this link take place from Carmichael, but there should also be a connecting route from downtown to Albany as well. Maybe an additional “incentive” can make it worth the bus drivers’ while.
As I said earlier, cars can break down and what happens then? Can you imagine how many persons would park their cars if that route was established? And we can maybe even save lives in the process.
If bus service can easily go within walking distance of virtually every major property in New Providence, is there a reason why it can’t go near Albany? Better yet, why is Albany the exception rather than the norm?
These three areas of unpardonable neglect can all be remedied by a very simple stroke of the pen. And the good news is that it doesn’t even have to wait until the next election.
My question to the Hon Minister JoBeth Colby is why can’t boots be on the ground next week? And wheels on the neglected roads in the weeks that follow? Extending routes to certain buses already in those areas may be the quick and easy fix until alternate routes can be created.
The situation of vulnerable women and men walking along poorly lit and isolated streets on their way to work in the small hours of the morning can sometimes create more problems than it actually solves. And please don’t say that the unthinkable has not happened multiple times before!
“Bus Stop !!”
November 23, 2023.