Water taxi operators prepared for commuters

— emergency works underway on Demerara Harbour Bridge

DPI, Guyana, Monday, September 2, 2019

Following an early morning accident, the Demerara Harbour Bridge is temporarily closed to vehicular traffic. In this regard, commuters have been relying on the speed boat service at the Vreed-en-hoop Stelling as an alternative route.

When the Department of Public Information (DPI) visited the Stabroek Market Stelling this morning, it was buzzing with persons hurrying to get to work and school on time. To avoid confusion at the stelling, officers from the Maritime Administration (MARAD) were directing passengers in and out of the boats.

Speaking to DPI, several boat operators expressed confidence that they are equipped and able to accommodate the additional passengers using the service. Rafeek Mohamed, one of the operators at the Stabroek Stelling said they are prepared to work into the nights.

“If the bridge isn’t working, we can go around the clock, because people are travelling all night,” he said.

His colleague, Patrick Grant echoed his remarks but noted that due to the size of the stelling, there is a bit of congestion. “We got it under lock and key… the passenger will be safe.”

DPI also chatted with several commuters who commented on the systems implemented to the ease congestion.

Ramesh Seecharan said he had not used the speed boat service for some time as he would drive to the city. However, he commended the measures that were put in place at the Vreed-en-Hoop Stelling.

Esther Wilson also shared the same sentiments. “There was no confusion because over on the other side [West Side], there were people directing passengers in and out of the boats.”

Other commuters suggested there should be increased security at the stellings while the bridge undergoes repairs.

Around 01:00hrs this morning, a tug and a barge collided with the Demerara Harbour Bridge which resulted in structural damage to several parts of the bridge. Minister of Public Infrastructure, Hon. David Patterson has assured that following the emergency works, the bridge will reopen to light vehicular traffic on the morning of September 3.

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