Sinanan: City Gate upgrade soon

Friday, November 22, 2019 - 17:00

Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan has committed to both maxi-taxi drivers and commuters using City Gate, Port-of-Spain that remedial and upgrade works will soon begin at the facility.

Following an hour-long meeting with Route Two Maxi Taxi Association President Linus Phillip at the Public Transport Services Corporation (PTSC) compound around 11 am, Sinanan sought to address some of the concerns raised by drivers who would have protested this morning.

He said, “A lot of it has to do with the infrastructure at City Gate and some challenges the maxi drivers would have had.”

Today’s protest which saw hundreds of drivers refusing to operate their maxis during the hours of 5 am to 9 am, resulted in many commuters being unable to get to their intended destinations on time.

Sinanan described the meeting as good, adding that short, mid and long term plans had been discussed as it related to improvements and upgrades to City Gate.

Regarding the recommendations put forth by Phillip, Sinanan said, “They did put some suggestions on the table, to which I am going to consider whereby how we can solve them.”

Recommendations requiring long-term solutions would need to go before the Cabinet.

Admitting the facility was prone to flood every time it rained heavily, Sinanan said, “The place needs some better grading and we have agreed to look into it through the PURE Unit.”

Other issues being looked at included the lack of pavements for pedestrians; poor lighting; over-turned concrete barriers; and uncovered manholes.

Focusing on the management of the facility which has in the past led to a lot of pulling and tugging by various parties, Sinanan said this was a major problem.

He said, “We are going to prepare a proposal as to the way forward in terms of who manages the facility.”

Indicating PTSC was responsible for cleaning and providing security services, Sinanan said, “There is so much more to managing a facility. The Association does their part in terms of how they regulate their maxis but we need a body to manage the facility. That is what is lacking at this facility and that is why from time to time, some minor problems develop into major problems.”

Pressed to say if his commitment today would be enough to stave off similar action in future, Sinanan smiled as he said, “I can’t tell you that you would not see a repeat because this is T&T and we have a way sometimes, that we express ourselves.”

“Problems will always come up but as the Minister of Works and Transport, I try to come out and deal with the problems head-on so I decided to come and deal with the drivers.”

Sinanan urged the public to understand the plight of the drivers as they too, “Have families and expenditure such as the banks and mortgages.”

Referring to the continuous challenge to secure funds across all ministries, Sinanan said discussions also centred around the placement of CCTV cameras in maxi taxis as an improved security feature.

He said there was legislation currently prohibiting maxi-taxis from installing CCTV cameras in the vehicle, but Sinanan said, “I see no reason for that if it doesn’t distract the driver.”

Sinanan said the MOWT had mandated its’ legal department to look into the current protocol and how it can change going forward.

Phillip said while they were satisfied with some of the assurances given by Sinanan, he agreed once the facility’s management issue was settled, “It would take care of a lot of the problems.”

Phillip presented a draft of proposals for the way forward to the MOWT but declined to say what it entailed.

 - Anna-Lisa Paul