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The BBA Wants Floralia’s Bus Permits to be Revoked

The Belize Bus Association (BBA) is not only looking to shut down the national public transportation, but it also wants the road permits granted to Floralia Limited to be cancelled. The group has sought legal representation via Senior Counsel Dean Barrow who has since written to the Belize Transport Board. In the letter, specifically addressed to the Chairman, Byron Sanchez, Barrow noted that an application for permission for judicial review has been filed. In the letter, Senior Counsel Dean Barrow told Sanchez that the board is “not to proceed with the implementation of the last set of runs for Floralia” Which would give them runs in and out of Dangriga and Belize City. The letter further states that, “at the hearing of our permission Application, the Court will decide whether those runs are to be stopped pending a final determination of their legality.” Speaking on this matter was the Secretary of the Belize Bus Association Ewart Metzgen.

Ewart Metzgen, Secretary, Belize Bus Association: This is of most concern to us especially with the two operators that are said to be affected and these are operators that have been operating in the north for years. I mean, who does not know the Tillett family in the north? Morales has been there for several years now. For about 10 or 12 years they have been in the industry and then the thing about that is, it’s prime runs. These are prime runs that will be taken from existing operators who I may say are doing a good job at what they’re doing with the resources we have and these are prime runs. In the case, what we are hearing is the 6:45 run out of Corozal and a 9:30 run from Corozal in the morning. Now these are prime runs for these operators. So hence our problem with Floralia because they are not being given runs for them to come and build. They are given, they are taken run, their runs are being taken from operators who have spent years building those runs. Everyday operators go to bed maybe with one eye closed, one eye opened and you’re thinking about if when you wake up tomorrow morning you will find a new operator in front of you or if they won’t take away your run. That’s the reality of the present bus operators and that is one of the main reasons why the industry has not developed. Now that we want to take a hold back of our industry because this industry belongs to us we are finding that we are being fought tooth and nail for the control of our industry.”

Reporter: So what if I tell you that, okay, you have your position there but many commuters really don’t care about your position. All they care about is that they could ride in a fancy bus because we’ve seen some of the buses operating today. The chairs are torn up. If they don’t break down today, they’ll break down tomorrow. But I’m saying that, the commuters have a choice, right? 

Ewart Metzgen, Secretary, Belize Bus Association:  “Yeah.”

Reporter: So since we broke the story last night about the application for the initial review to squash Floralia’s permit and deem it illegal, the comments have been that we’ve seen the buses there in the public. They don’t mind riding with Floralia because Floralia is fancy and stuff like that. 

Ewart Metzgen, Secretary, Belize Bus Association: But, but, what they are not telling you, and it comes back to the same thing with the cost, the cost of operating these buses. You will find a few people in the public who mind paying more to ride those sorts of buses. But the ordinary man and woman it boils down back to, who are making 100, 150, 200, 225 dollars a week, they won’t want to pay more. They will want, yes they will want the fancy, the fancy piece of equipment out there. They don’t know what it costs to operate and to have it out there. So it’s an education process and we want to improve the industry. We the current operators, we want to improve but instead of the government and the people at the Department of Transport work with the operators that are, that currently exist to improve the system, they go and they bring other people in there. Man, we don’t even know who owns Floralia.”