Pantophlet resumes Richardson’s Changing Lanes projectPOSTED: 06/28/12 12:16 PM
St. Maarten – Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Romeo Pantophlet announced Wednesday that the Changing Lanes project will be reintroduced within two months. The project was initiated by former Commissioner Frans Richardson but none of the goals were accomplished after the United People’s Party and the Democratic Party formed a coalition government after the September 17, 2010 election. Now the project is back on the table as part of a strategy to regulate the country’s transportation system.
“There will be a reorganization of the bussing industry, designated bus stops will come in place, a bus terminal will come in place, and designated routes will take place. It’s going to be a complete reorganization and bringing things to order. Busses will not be able allowed to stop anywhere and disrupt the flow of traffic,” Pantophlet said.
The minister also said that the administration will put a moratorium on the issuance of bus and taxi licenses. He’s also proposing a role for parliament in the way those licenses are issued.
“The intention is to put a moratorium on it and consult parliament on how it cannot be so easily lifted, perhaps with a two thirds majority, so we don’t have craziness going on in the industry every time a new government takes over,” the minister said.
Pantophlet is also looking at forming a transportation committee soon in order to further work out how the sector should be regulated.
Pantophlet expects a report on the “bus and taxi licenses that were issued during the Carnival parandah” today and he hopes to use that as the basis for a meeting with the bus and the taxi associations. The report, which is being compiled by members of Pantophlet’s cabinet staff, will give him statistics and insight into what went on, who got what and stuff like that.
The bus association and the taxi associations have protested the new licenses that were handed out in the last days of the Wescot-Williams I cabinet, which consisted of the United People’s (UP) Party and the Democratic Party.