THE Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) will take 18 months to convert its fleet of vehicles to use compressed natural gas (CNG), PTSC general manager Ronald Forde has said.
He was speaking at a recent meeting of officials of the Ministry of Works and Ministry of Transport and the Joint Select Committee (JSC) Group 2 at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.
Forde said one bus had been converted to CNG recently and they were working on two others.
He said that based on the results of the current project PTSC will determine how it moves forward.
As an alternative to gasoline CNG is more environmentally friendly, safer and costs less than gasoline.
In March 2012 the sod was turned for a CNG pump at PTSC's South Quay head office in Port of Spain.
Also at the meeting JSC vice chairman Dr Victor Wheeler requested an update on the global positioning system (GPS) for buses.
Forde said they had installed GPS devices on 375 buses and were establishing a command centre which will be outfitted with equipment to monitor road networks.
He explained that through this system the PTSC will know the expected time of arrival of buses.
The project is about to go into the second phase and the third phase, the passenger interface, will be implemented in the next two years.
Through the passenger interface, he noted, commuters will be able to see the arrival and departure times of all buses.
JSC chairman Dr James Armstrong questioned how the GPS system would assist with general scheduling.
Forde said that the system would assist with tracking of traffic jams, accidents and other obstacles and assist with planning schedules.
Armstrong said buses at times arrive half hour to one hour late and it gave the impression that a proper scheduling system was not in place.
Forde said there were different reasons for delays, including faulty parts picked up during "line checks".
JSC member Clifton De Couteau complained about the lack of preventative road maintenance in his constituency of Tableland/Moruga, which he called the "landslip capital of the country", and slammed the road supervisors for not properly doing their jobs.
Director of Highways Roger Ganesh responded that the roads in the constituency were challenging because they were not properly designed and had some of the worst soils in the world.
He said there was no regular maintenance in the area but in general the division was understaffed but would still be addressing the shortfall this year.