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PTSC compound South Quay, Port-of-Spain.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan says the government will soon purchase an additional 300 buses to facilitate reliable public transport.

Speaking at the Fifth Sitting of The Appropriation (Financial Year 2021) Bill, 2020, Sinanan said the government will continue to provide a reliable form of public transportation and work towards building infrastructural solutions for a green economy.

“Negotiations are in train for the acquisition of 300 additional buses which will augment the entire PTSC fleet to 500 buses, increasing its capacity to serve more travellers nationwide,” he said.

Out of this fleet, 38 of the buses will run on compressed natural gas which is more energy-efficient. Sinanan said the buses will be equipped with devices to track their real-time locations, arrival at destinations and monitoring operational routes.

“We will develop bus routes’ service planning and schedules systematically and effectively for all its routes,” Sinanan added.

He also said over 3,000 more passengers will be accommodated on the sea bridge.

“At present, the inter-island service has an operating capacity of 1,800 passengers one way, to accommodate 3,100 passengers one way (the Jean De La Valette, the MV Galleons Passage and the T&T Spirit),” Sinanan said.

With the arrival of the APT James and Buccoo Reef, the Minister said an additional 1,900 seats will be added as well as 500 motor vehicles on the sea bridge.

“The first of these vessels, the APT James, is expected in T&T by year’s end,” he noted.

Sinanan also said citizens will no longer have the hassle of waiting for long periods to do business at the Licensing offices.

“The Ministry will officially launch its Licensing Mobile Services Unit, which will carry out scheduled visits to rural communities and villages. Citizens who reside in these communities will soon have hassle-free access to services without having to travel long distances to visit a Licensing Office,” he said.

He noted that the Demerit Point System has triggered a 22 per cent decrease in fatal road traffic accidents and a 29 per cent decrease in road traffic deaths compared to last year.

Despite this, Sinanan said some people continue to defy the laws.

“The number of suspensions and disqualifications as of September 21, 2020, is 235,” he revealed.

Sinanan also said construction of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension will continue.

“We intend to boost activity in the construction sector by engaging over 400 to 1,400 individuals at any given time with work continuing into 2021. In 2020, construction works on all nine work packages are still ongoing. However, all packages have been directly impacted by the reality of COVID-19 which has delayed critical dry weather works. All on-going packages are now scheduled for completion in the fiscal year 2021,” he revealed.

Sinanan also said Valencia to Toco Highway will invigorate smaller communities along its paths like Salybia, Cumana and Grand Riviere.

He noted that the Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency will undertake over 150 projects, including the San Fernando Waterfront Project.

He also said pumps were being procured for various locations in flood-prone areas such as Sea Lots, Debe, El Socorro, Bamboo No. 1, 2 & 3, Aranguez and Penal.

He revealed that the Ministry completed 480 desilting projects across Trinidad this year which had curbed flooding in many areas.