Displaced short drop hire car drivers previously operating at the route 42 Bus Park, that are now left without a place to ply their trade, protested the situation at the Stabroek Market area on Friday calling for an alternative space to be provided.
The drivers were removed since Tuesday last after the area which was commonly used was barricaded by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to be used as a vending area as rehabilitative works are soon to commence on the Stabroek Wharf.
The move by the City Council without any prior warning being given to the drivers has now left them without a means to make a living.
Additionally, commuters who used the services of the cars to travel to various areas on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) at a low cost now have to seek alternative means.
Speaking with one such commuter who used the said cars to travel to the Banks Scheme area, Industrial Site, Ruimveldt, INews was informed that the removal is a cause for grave concern since walking in the said area is dangerous.
“I would use the cars daily paying a mere $200 to be dropped to my destination in the Banks Scheme area because it is quite unsafe to walk there as the place is quite lonely and many of my colleagues have been attacked and robbed on several occasions. Without the availability of the cars, I now have to use buses and walk into the said unsafe area or use taxis which cost around $600 or $700…it is quite unfortunate and hopefully the City Council can do something about it” the young woman said.
This online site was able to also speak with a number of the displaced operators who all decried the need for an alternative location.
One driver said “We are faced with a problem over the last few days in that it’s affecting our operation on a daily basis. It is affecting us very miserably because we cannot work to get money to take home to our family.”
“We don’t know the reason for that. We were not notified in a way of a notice or any meeting or nothing whatsoever. We don’t know what is going on and we would like to know if anybody from the Mayor and City Council can come and tell us what is going on,” another distraught driver said.
Meanwhile, Alan Rahman who shared the same sentiments stated, “I think it’s a blatant disrespect not only to the drivers but to the family of the drivers and the passengers. This should never be. We should learn to give instructions, give notifications and do what is necessary. On top of that, we are being harassed by the police when we drop off and pick up because there is no designated location to pick up or to set down.”
Visiting the area, this online agency saw that not only were the cars left without a place but the route 42 minibus operators were moved to a location opposite their previous one, that is, where the route 32 bus operators were usually parked. The route 32 minibus operators were moved to a location aback the Stabroek Wharf.
As such, the drivers are awaiting a response from the town council as it relates to the provision of an alternative space so that they can operate at the park.
Meanwhile, efforts to contact the Mayor and Town Clerk, for a comment on the decision to leave the drivers out in the cold, proved futile. (Kizzy Coleman)