2007-04-05

How Bermuda plans to reduce traffic

The Premier has taken the route of assigning a fixed number of cars to businesses employing more than 10 guest workers. The available cars will be distributed (are these physical cars or car licences? How does this work? Are guest workers forbidden to purchase a car unless the employer gives the green light?) to guest workers at the discretion of the employer.

Bermuda Sun of course is one of the first to post this online. The Government web portal has the full speech, but it's inexcusably in a MS Word document format. Yeesh.

But anyway. The formula itself will work. It's also going to ruffle the feathers of expats who may feel discriminated against. The single person or single couple living in the far east or west of the island may have to (a) get a bike on which they may not feel safe upon, (b) rely on buses or ferries and their limited schedules, particularly if they live near say Devil's Hole, (c) rely on taxis. I recognize that you can't please everyone and the move will likely make the voting populace feel at ease as they're not affected negatively.

As for the other initiatives, free public transport. I have no idea if it will sell. Bermudians never "go back" to "inferior" transport. When people get their bikes, they'll never catch the bus. When they get a car, they avoid bikes at all costs. It's about status, not price. It's why people will fill up City Hall and Par-la-ville car parks and pay the fees even though buses and ferries over the course of a month will save them a good chunk of money. And I still disagree that increasing the schedule of buses on the major routes is enough incentive for people to leave the car at home. What I think is good is the mini-bus services in conjunction with public transport, so we'll see how that turns out.

The initiatives for promoting car-pooling, well they're well behind. I'd like to see something announced along those fronts.

The second-hand car market issue I'm not certain about. I can see that it's desired to eliminate it (or at least reduce it significantly), but many people can't afford a new car. People need to be careful here.

Impounding vehicles not insured or licenced is good. Also where a driver isn't licenced or insured, impounding the vehicle should be considered on a case-by-case basis. I think in situations where the driver is vaulting at 90kph, take the car away too.

The Premier discusses briefly the demerit points system for licencing. Wouldn't it be great to see this implemented? Personally I say just take them off the road, but this is overdue and if enforced (we're going to need cops on the street for this, people) then it'll help not necessarily with traffic reduction but at least taking the Evel Kinivels off the road and making our pedestrians and other motorists feel safer.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the government is trying to reduce the number of cars on the island.

When was the last time someone died on our roads driving a car?

Is getting to work half an hour earlier really worth the lives of 12 people each year?

Four wheels good, two wheels bad - E A Blair

Tryangle said...

Well, they're trying to ease up on that morning and 5pm congestion especially from the west end, but they're tackling it from the wrong angle in my opinion.
Someone said why not target parents of schoolkids who drive them to school. And why no trimming the fat from the heap of GP cars? And I've already mentioned many times that the current and future bus scheduling is inadequate for many persons.

~ Ms. Cute Pants ~ said...

I think that the government would be more successful in eliminating the second hand car market for expats & leaving it open to Bermudians, instead of eliminating it all together. This would ensure that those families that cannot afford brand news cars, at least have an avenue that works for them. But to blame expats for the increase in cars is ridiculous. Not many expats I know have cars. Incidentally, I do know of one Bermudian who has 5 cars in his family. That's a lot of assessment numbers not being appropriately handled. Perhaps the government can look into this as well - a crackdown on the mis use of assessments numbers.