With the official opening of Carnival quickly approaching, so too is the annual struggle faced by the bus drivers based at the East Bus Station, and the seasonal vendors who ply their trade at “Shanty Town” where stalls are being temporarily erected.
Last year, the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board (ABTB) and the Antigua and Barbuda Bus Association (ABBA) settled on an arrangement where bus drivers would relocate to the space near the Rising Sun Cricket Grounds currently occupied by the National School Bus Service; but this, according to some drivers, did not bear fruit.
Yesterday, the Treasurer of the Bus Association informed OBSERVER media that this year there has been no similar agreement with the Transport Board, despite having several meetings with officials of the Transport Board and the Festivals Commission, which issues permits to the Shanty Town vendors to ply their trade.
“We went into to a meeting with Harry Elvin and an official from Festivals Commission to negotiate what was the best arrangement for the Bus Station. We said that Shanty Town would be better fit over where the school buses normally park and we will stay at our home—the bus station,” he said, adding that this suggestion was rejected.
The treasurer also noted that another solution offered during the meeting was to have those who are known to use the area for gambling relocated to the school bus terminal area, leaving only those who actually sell food items at the bus terminal; but this was not accepted either.
Meanwhile, the bus drivers have continued to express their disquiet with the situation, as buses have issues entering and exiting the bus station, among other challenges.
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