We need a workable public transportation system, traffic lights and more…..
We have come a long way in the Turks and Caicos, and I am so grateful to God for rescuing many of us from poverty and bringing progress to our country. I remember growing up on the island of South Caicos, most of us had to walk to our destination whether it be to school, church or the grocery store. Of course, this did not only happen on the island of South Caicos but all the other islands. Can you imagine what most of the people in North Caicos, Middle Caicos and Providenciales (our three largest islands) had to endure walking so many miles to reach their destination.
Today, I believe I can safely say that most people have access to vehicles and so you will not find too many people walking the streets. In fact, you will find many families have multiple vehicles in their yards, the wife has a vehicle, the husband has a vehicle, and the children have their vehicles.
Individuals that do not have a vehicle can easily catch a “jitney”. Cars stopped all over the place picking up individuals and taking them directly to the place they wanted to go.
Providenciales has many vehicles but limited roads and as a result we are faced with traffic congestion. I know traffic congestion may be an issue that many countries are facing but I think we do something about this congestion on the island of Providenciales.
An effective Public Transportation system
I think an effective way to deal with the congestion is to have an effective public transportation system. In 2018, the then Government revised the Public Service Ordinance with the intent to eradicate the illegal jitneys and to encourage Turks and Caicos Islanders to offer legitimate “jitney” services. However, I think only two Turks and Caicos Islanders embraced that opportunity and I am not even sure if they are still operational. However, one thing I know is that I still see the operation of illegal jitneys.
I think we should have a bus system. I know it was tempted thirty years ago and it didn’t work but it does not mean it will not work now. After all, we have more than five times the population we had 30 years ago. I think this should be a great partnership opportunity for Turks and Caicos Islanders.
When I was a child, I used to visit Nassau, Bahamas frequently, and they had and still have a proper jitney service. I believe if we adopt something like Nassau, it can work even if it means having the Government do a partnership and allow locals to buy shares in the public transportation system. My understanding is that the public transportation in Bermuda is owned and operated by the Government.
Public transportation is also a big thing in the UK. You have white collar workers and blue-collar workers using public transportation. We can do the same thing here. After all, our vehicles will be parked most of the day at our jobs anyway. You may just save more with a public transportation system.
It appears that successive Governments do not appear to favour traffic lights and I don’t know if it is because they think it removes the island touch. Whatever the reason is, I don’t know but I know one thing is that we need to consider installing traffic lights. It should help with the movement of vehicles faster than what is being done now. Many of us do not know how to use the roundabout and many of us do not give way to other vehicles on the road and as a result we wait in long queues.
More roads and more expansion of existing roads
We basically have one main road on the island of Providenciales. Everybody must be on that road going to their different places of interest and as a result we have traffic congestion. I know it may be very challenging to have more streets due to the size limitation and private property, but we need an alternative and may mean building overpass and overbridge roads. I also really think the roundabouts should be removed as many of us do not know how to use them. If we have traffic lights, then we should not need roundabouts.
Consider limited vehicles per household.
I know this is a tough recommendation as everyone wants to come and leave when they want to but maybe we should consider limiting the number of vehicles allowed per household. There are too many vehicles on the island of Providenciales.
Providenciales is growing fast and is attracting many people to live and work here. As a result, there is a need for transportation. However, it does not have to be personal transportation. If we can implement an effective public transportation and install traffic lights, I believe it can help us with the congestion issue.
If we don’t know what to do, we can ask other countries about their public transportation system and follow suit with their systems.