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Clarendon operators face steep drop in business

Published:Monday | March 23, 2020 | 12:22 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer

BUS DRIVERS and conductors traversing the May Pen to Kingston route are bemoaning a drop in business as information surfaced that a Clarendon resident was among those tested positive for the coronavirus.

The bus operators claim that business is the slowest they have recorded in history. “Me a drive bus from me a 19 and me 59 now, and a the first me see this. It slow bad!” exclaimed one bus operator. Echoing the sentiments was his colleague, who bellowed, “Not even Sunday or public holiday nuh stay like this. Look how much bus in yah (the bus park). Bus deh here from early this morning and all now it cyaa leave go back a town. If today stay so, me nuh waa see all Sunday.”

The operators say that the number of persons travelling has hit a significant low as news began surfacing of Patient One’s diagnosis, and even lower with information of the Clarendon resident’s positive test for the virus.

“It slow, man. By this time of day me would a do two-round trip, and a one me do already. Me usually do three for the day, but today nuh look possible,” said Ian, who has been in the business for five years. A driver plying the route for over 15 years lamented, “The pace of how people use to travel now, we nuh have that. It’s like we two hours backward. Most a the drivers say them a wait til next week, and if a so the place stay, them nah come out and it nuh make sense. He added that his colleagues have been sanitising seats with Lysol after each trip and taking all the necessary precautionary measures. “From the first case we a take precaution; everybody a take it serious,” he said.

Michelle Francis-Salmon shared that the closure of schools has led to her husband working from home to cater to their children.

Francis, who has been a driver on the route since August, said this is the slowest travelling period she had seen.

“From me a run bus, a the slowest time me ever see. Slow!” she emphasised.

In taking precautionary measures against the virus, she said, “Me use mi hand sanitiser, clean the steering wheel and the door handles, and passengers are travelling with their hand sanitiser and their wipes,” she said, adding that passengers are cooperative and assisting with sanitisation activities.