Berbice hire car operators object to being removed from “park”

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Hire car operators plying the Stanleytown/New Amsterdam route are up in arms after they were informed that they can no longer use in front of the J’s Supermarket as a car park.

Over the years, the area has been used as a park.

In January 2013, the Traffic Department had been called in after the area had become congested.

The police then installed ‘no parking’ signs at the location – a move which was criticised by the operators.

Following a meeting on January 17, 2013, it was agreed that the hire car operators will be allowed to use in front of J’s Supermarket as the car park.

But now, they are being removed again.

They have been instructed to utilise another area as the car park, but the operators are not pleased.

Gavin Vyphuis, who operates along the Stanleytown route, said he was informed by the current Divisional Traffic Officer that they are now required to use the road shoulders about 200 meters away as the car park.

“The reason for that he stated is that the place has become overcrowded with vehicles and J’s Supermarket had only given permission for eight vehicles to park there but as the years progressed that is now a large amount of vehicles gathering now so he asked us to remove,” Vyphuis said.

Following the closure of the Rosehall Sugar Estate in December 2017 which left hundreds on the breadline, many turned to operating taxis as a living.

The influx changed the landscape of the industry in New Amsterdam and East Canje.

Vyphuis says the distance from the Municipal Market and also the main supermarkets to the current area being designated as a park is too far for the elderly and those with heavy bags.

He also noted that leaving their cars there and going into the shopping area seeking passengers could result in them being victims of theft.

Another hire car operator, Ewart Barker, who has been plying his trade for the past fifteen years says the decision-makers seemingly did not take safety into consideration.

“I am looking at the relocation area; the building is full of faeces, smelly and the building is collapsing. It is not fit.”

The New Amsterdam Municipality met with the operators on Tuesday to discuss their concerns.