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The public transport industry is facing various problems. “It would be desirable for employees to be better considered,” stressed Alain Kistnen, general secretary of the Union of Bus Industry Workers (UBIW), speaking to Florence Alexandre on the show Au cœur de l'info. “Human beings must be at the centre of the transport industry.”

Although he is not against recruiting foreign drivers to make up for the shortage of staff at various bus operators, Alain Kistnen believes that better treatment of employees would facilitate recruitment. According to the various speakers on the show, including Viraj Nundlall, Managing Director of Triolet Bus Service (TBS), Sunil Jeewoonarain, Secretary of the Bus Owners Cooperative Federation (BOCF), and Dhiraj Dosieah, Managing Director of the Mauritian Bus Transport Ltd (MBT), recruitment is one of the problems faced by the companies.

According to Alain Kistnen, young people should be encouraged to join bus companies by providing them with good vehicles. This would also benefit passengers. “We need to restore the transport sector's reputation,” added the UBIW secretary. For him, employees will agree to work if they are given more consideration. “Employee well-being is very important and operators should not only think about making profits at their expense,” he stressed.

Alain Kistnen also said the union is not against the Fleet Management System that the National Land Transport Authority (NLTA) is planning to implement. This system would make it possible to track the movement of buses in real time to ensure that they are on the road and not in the garage while the government grants them subsidies. He also called for a round table meeting bringing together all stakeholders in the public transport industry to resolve problems such as delays on certain routes, public complaints against transport employees and the aggression they suffer from some passengers.

Regarding the employment of foreign drivers (Indians, Nepalese, Malagasy and Sri Lankans), he believes that there could be a communication problem between drivers and collectors, which could represent a barrier to their recruitment. He also protests against the recruitment ratio of one foreign driver for three Mauritian drivers. Alain Kistnen also criticised the behaviour of some transport employees towards the public.

Other speakers mentioned the traffic problems that cause delays on some routes. They called for the provision of dedicated bus lanes to facilitate their travel. “We are facing problems due to traffic jams. That is why there are delays sometimes,” said Viraj Nundlall of TBS. “There should be priority roads for more efficient service,” said Dhiraj Dosieah of MBT. Sunil Jeewoonarain of BOCF urged the authorities to put in place a system to let each passenger know the time when the bus will be at their stop, so that they do not waste time waiting.

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