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Southern Belize Transport Chaos: Floralia bus permits expire amid legal tangle

Posted: Saturday, December 9, 2023. 7:50 am CST.

By Horace Palacio: Yesterday, concerns heightened in southern Belize over the future of key bus routes following a high court ruling that deemed the awarding of road service permits to Floralia by the Transport Board as improper. These permits, allowing Floralia to operate routes from Punta Gorda to Belize City, Dangriga to Belize City, and Independence to Belmopan, are set to expire this Saturday at midnight, throwing the region’s transport system into potential disarray.

The government had until December 10th to resolve the issue, which included giving fair consideration to other bus operators, G-Line and James, for these runs. However, the Ministry of Transport failed to organize a solution in time, prompting Floralia and the government to seek a court extension until February.

When approached for comment in Orange Walk, Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport, deferred, stating that the case was in the hands of the Attorney General (AG) and he was awaiting a response. However, the situation took a turn when Justice Chabot denied the application made by Floralia and the Government of Belize (GOB) to stay the effect of her order. This decision means that Floralia must halt its operations on these routes starting this Sunday.

This abrupt termination of services has raised serious concerns about the transportation of commuters who rely on these routes. The Attorney General informed that the Ministry of Transport would provide an update by midday today, leaving many in a state of uncertainty.

In a late evening release, the Ministry of Transport detailed the specific bus runs that will be temporarily discontinued following the termination of Floralia’s permits. These include a 5:30 a.m. bus from Punta Gorda to Belize City daily, a 6:30 a.m. bus from Punta Gorda to Belize City from Monday to Saturday, and a 6:00 a.m. bus from Dangriga to Belize City from Monday to Saturday. The Ministry also promised a public advisory to inform commuters about the arrangements starting December 11, 2023.

This development has left the southern transport network in a precarious position, with many residents anxiously awaiting further information on alternative arrangements. The situation underscores the challenges in managing public transportation systems and the significant impact of administrative and legal decisions on everyday commuters.

 

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