Bus shelters arouse disgust, while ex-Transport Board worker says $10k subsidy to private radio station should be put to public use

Drivers and passengers disgusted at the state of the Nation’s highways are reporting another complaint: the condition of the bus shelters.

Today, October 14, motorists submitted to REAL News photos that show how uncut grass and shrubs have overtaken the shelters on the Friars Hill Road and the Belmont area of the All Saints Road.

Meanwhile, on the Sir George Walter Highway – the road leading to and from the V.C. Bird International Airport – another shelter has been left damaged – the frame dangerously bent and the glass shattered – reportedly for several weeks now.

“It’s a disgrace,” a Powells resident tells REAL News. “That is what we want visitors to see as soon as they arrive here? That’s the last impression we want them to have when they’re leaving: that Antigua is a real mash-up place?” she asks.

Inquiries confirmed that the maintenance of the shelters and the responsibility for clearing them of overgrowth lie with the Antigua & Barbuda Transport Board (ABTB).

An employee tells our Newsroom that the agency employs a crew for clearing the shelters, as well as the bus stops and traffic signs. However, she could not explain why these things are in their current condition, except to suggest that the recent rainfall has contributed to the state of affairs.

Meanwhile, a former staff member of the statutory body says there is no reason for the Transport Board’s dereliction of duty. The ex-employee says the lack of money is certainly not a valid excuse, given that the agency’s income is guaranteed by the mandatory licensing of drivers and vehicles.

“Rather than spending $10,000 a month to advertise with [a certain radio station], Transport Board should use the money to clear the roadsides,” the person says.
The source alleges that the money remitted to the private radio station is for the payment of its staff, “and all the managers know it, too.”

After all, the former employee asks, “What could Transport Board be advertising when it doesn’t have any competition? And if there is something to advertise, what happened to all the other radio stations? They don’t want ads, too?”

In the meantime, the driver snapping the photographs points out that this is the election season; so, after the Government has patched the roadways, it might turn its attention to the overgrown roadsides and bring the public some relief.