Senior citizens facing discrimination by some minibus operators

0

…urged to report matter to Police

Senior citizens are now forced to wait long hours on the public roads owing to some minibuses refusing to transport them. It has now become overly irritating that some of these elderly persons are beginning to sound their voices.

Speaking with <<<Inews>>>, one senior citizen of Dazzle Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara, explained that she is tired of having to wait for long hours on the public road since the East Coast Demerara buses (Route 44) are refusing to take her to Georgetown.

“I am very tired; you know how long I have to wait before one of them old buses feel sorry for me and take me to Georgetown? If I have to reach to Georgetown for nine in the morning, I best reach on the road since five because these buses will never pick me up,” she said.

Another elder of Kitty, Georgetown said, “Watch me foot ain even good, I get crutches to help me walk. I know people might say I should be catching taxi but where I finding all that money from every week to go and dress my foot, me in like everybody, me don’t have all them money,” he said.

Furthermore, another challenge they have indicated is the loud music on the buses that become unbearable during their travel.

“I think one of the reasons they don’t pick up old people up is because we complain about the music. I can’t understand why the music has to be so loud, they always have the music hard, hard in the bus to deaf people and when we talk they either put us out of the bus or just to avoid everything – they don’t pick us up at all,” another retiree explained.

Commenting on the situation, United Minibus Union (UMU) President Eon Andrews said that the Union has been persistently receiving reports on the situation.

“We’ve been always getting that kind of reports where certain buses refusing to pick up elderly persons, differently-abled persons, and even some foreigners. That is why we’ve had to come up with our code of conduct that was coined between the Ministry of Business, the Road Safety Council and the Police, and the Union”.

The association’s President said that even though it is against the law, it is very difficult to monitor every minibus.

“As much as we have outlined that it should not be so, more or less monitoring is kind of very difficult. These older persons might not have the time and fatigue to report it to the station, the number of the bus and so on”, he vocalised.

However, Andrews said that in the case where a bus refuses to transport the elderly, if they are accompanied by a family member, they are advised to take the registration number of the bus and report it to the nearest Police station.

In the Minibus Code of Conduct, Clause 3:3 clearly states that “no passenger shall be discriminated against on the grounds of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, disability, or nationality”.

“It is catered for but in many instances where the road people are violating or buses are violating, a lot of these things are in the 5102 Road Vehicle and Traffic Act. It is a matter of the Police enforcing”.

Andrews even pointed out that Police Officers have now reached the stage where they are mocking persons when they go to make reports.

“It clearly indicates to me that as much as people would like to go and have their matters addressed, whether legally or otherwise at the Police station, sometimes the Police don’t pay them any mind,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Andrews said that he wishes that some of these manners be taken to the court where the culprits will face severe charges.

Traffic Chief Linden Isles, however, said that the Police have not received any complaints on these issues but if persons are experiencing such challenges it should be reported to the nearest Police station.

“If a person refuses to carry a senior citizen, once that bus stops and is working and they refuse to carry that person, it’s an offence which the Police can deal with. You cannot refuse to carry a passenger only on circumstances, which must be really extreme if the person is under the influence of alcohol and behaving badly, is smelly… you can’t just refuse to carry an elderly person,” he explained.