Transport in Saint Lucia

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Transport in Saint Lucia includes transportation to and from Saint Lucia, which is a sovereign island country located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It also includes transportation from one part of the island to another.

By air[edit]

Saint Lucia is served by two airports. Larger jets arrive at Hewanorra International Airport located in Vieux Fort, 40 miles South of Castries (which is the island’s capital and largest city). Smaller inter-island planes land at George F.L. Charles Airport, just outside of Castries. Many major airlines serve Saint Lucia. Several smaller airlines fly to George F.L. Charles via neighbouring islands.

By sea[edit]

Cruise ships enter the main seaport at Castries, and dock at one of the facilities there. Fast and modern catamaran can be booked for travel to and from the islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Dominica. Yachts dock at various facilities in Castries, Marigot Bay, or Rodney Bay.

Public transportation (bus)[edit]

Saint Lucia's mini buses offer inexpensive transportation and run until approximately 10 pm (longer on Friday nights when the weekly "jump up" takes place at Gros Islet). All buses are registered with a green 'M' licence plate and labelled with a yellow sticker on the front of the vehicle, signifying their route.

Taxis[edit]

Taxis are widely available at the airports and city centers. Fares are not metered, but rather fixed for each destination. Taxi drivers can confirm the cost and currency (EC$ or US$) of the fare before each trip is made. Taxi licence plates are red or blue, and begin with the letters TX.

Trucking[edit]

Trucking in Saint Lucia is sort of like an industry; the transportation of goods from the island's ports to warehouses, supermarkets, what have you are by container trucks or "trailer trucks" in our native language is increasingly an important industry. As the importation of goods is continually growing there are more trucks traversing our roadways; the most common trucks used in Saint Lucia DAF (the older models), which produce the most noise.

ACCIDENTS/INJURIES

From time, container trucks are now beginning to cause several accidents in the island. Trucks seldom account for road accidents but now it is skyrocketing. In the past few years many people have died from truck-related accidents; some accidents taken place are:

(1) About two years aback a huge trailer truck travelling from south of the island to the north collided with a minibus travelling down south. The minibus, carrying no passengers at the time but only the driver, died in this serious accident; the truck driver, however, was seriously injured and was transported to the St Judes Hospital.

(2) Recently, another trailer truck was involved in an accident. The trailer truck, parked by the side of the road, was loading a heavy piece of machinery. A few minutes later, a pickup truck slammed into the trailer truck; the pickup truck, which was carrying an entire family was totally rightoff. There were two kids in the van at the time and they suffered serious injuries and we're transported to the Victoria Hospital along with their parents.

Other incidents of truck drivers causing threat to public are:

(1) A truck driver travelling down south of the island with an intermodal container on a container chassis did not notice that one of the tires on the trailer bed was flat and was being ripped piece by piece on the highway. This was videoed by a passenger in a motor vehicle behind the truck and the video went viral on internet. Unfortunately, no one was injured.

(2) This next point is shocking. Another truck travelling down south of the island with an intermodal container was bolting on the highway with a motor vehicle; the truck driver was descending down the highway fast with a container and posing a risk to other motor vehicles and road users. The attempted vehicle the truck was racing overtook the truck a few minutes later. A video was also captured and went viral. No charges or arrest have been placed on the trucker.

DISTURBANCES

Residents and motor vehicle users have always been complaining about the loudness of these trucks when using the roads; the loudness of these trucks have caused many hearing problems and disturbances to homes, businesses and the nearby Victoria Hospital located to the road where trucks mainly pass. The noise of these trucks is mainly heard when they have a load on them which causes the truck to put power on the engine leading to the noise; also more noise is heard when the trucks have a bare chassis and traversing on rough roads e.g. when passing on the Millennium Highway. When the trucks pass on these rough roads the chassis passes in potholes which causes it to make the noise.


BENEFITS OF TRUCKING

Trucking in Saint Lucia is a growing industry; as the island develops and the population increases, there is growing need for the importation of goods and products. For this, more and more trucks are traversing our roadways and several trucks are being brought into the island. There are approxiamatly over 1000 trailer trucks on the island. On average, nearly 900 trucks traverse our roadways everyday, hauling containerised goods. On average a trucking company in Saint Lucia hauls 10-15 loads a day of imported containers from the islands seports.

PROBLEMS FACING THE INDUSTRY

Some problems facing the trucking industry in Saint Lucia are lack of workers and equipment.

Many of the trucking companies in Saint Lucia have extra tractor units for backup. If one truck breaks down there isn't immediate dealer backup on the island, hence the need for extra trucks because parts can take up to a month to arrive to the island.

Also, trucking companies are facing the lack of workers. Many of the truck drivers on the island are over forty years of age; the average age of a truck driver in Saint Lucia is 60 years. As for this, when truckers are retired, there will not be enough workers to drive these trucks that are just around. One company in Saint Lucia operates four drivers and seven tractor units. Anually, about 5 workers a year join the trucking industry in Saint Lucia and about 10 of them are exiting the industry for retirement, or, leave the island. Another problem facing the lack of truck drivers are, a driver must be the age of 25 to be driving these huge vehicles.

TRUCKERS WILLING TO PLAY THEIR PART

Truckers are an integral part of the business of shipping especially heavy-duty truckers moving containerised cargo. Over the years this sector of business has grown significantly with a number of major companies competing for the business. Despite this competitive spirit they have been practical and wise enough to see the benefits of forming a Truckers Association, which was established some five years ago but is currently dormant.

With the number of issues being faced, members are currently engaged in re-energising the association to interface with the various stakeholders to address a catalogue of observations theey want to share with the main shipping actors, including SLASPA and Customs.

Some of the issues being faced are the costs for operating the business are going up - including fuel, tyres, parts, labour, etc.

Among the issues are of concern, some of which require better recognition and involvement from the Transport Board are:

● Truck Driver Certification/ Licensing. At the current time there is no specific training tobqualify individuals to drive heavy duty vehicles in Saint Lucia; this could be rectified by establishing a driving school to certify truck drivers. "Right now, anyone can buy a truck and hire someone, with or without a truck driver's license, to join the trade and get into the trucking business. That's not right or fair." says Gregory Monplaisir, owner of Monplaisir Trucking.

● Road Repairs. Discussions with relevant departments regarding road repairs should take container trucks into consideration. Roads are being repaired and realigned, but in some cases they have now become too small for our larger trucks, forcing them to have to drive in the middle of the road, at great inconvenience to others, but necessary in the interest of customers' cargo, and the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike.

See also[edit]