Port Authority concerned by recent assertions made by Farley Augustine

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Port Authority concerned by recent assertions made by Farley Augustine

The Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) is defending itself against recent statements made by Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, who slammed their “poor treatment” to passengers at the Port of Port of Spain.

In a statement on Sunday, PATT said it was deeply concerned by Augustine’s assertions, especially as it had been “consistently improving operations.”

Augustine told stakeholders during a recent consultation that even before boarding vessels, passengers are not properly catered for at the port.

He said passengers often had to make a “mad dash” across the busy Wrightson Road to get to the port.

“They built a walkover nearby, but they did not even consider the travellers between Trinidad and Tobago, to think that there needs to be a solution at Wrightson Road…You who coming from Tobago has to still make that dash across the road. Nobody really care about you.”

However, in response, the authority said there was an “audible crossing signal zone” to assist pedestrians in crossing the road, as well as the nearby walkover.

Augustine had also said when the passengers got to the port, they had to “stand up under a tent in the sun and rain in the most undignified manner.

PATT said daily, there were three sailings from Port of Spain and confirmed passengers were asked to arrive at least two hours beforehand and immediately check in.

“Standby passengers are required to obtain their standby number and await further instructions in the standby accommodation.”

It added that the tents were put there during the height of the covid19 pandemic to ensure physical distancing, but had since been removed.

Augustine also complained about what he described as long wait times to buy tickets and board vessels.

In response to that, PATT said its waiting area seated 450 passengers and was divided into numerically labelled sections, “two of which are assigned to passengers holding premium class tickets, who are boarded first, followed by the other sections, who are invited to board in numerical order.”

The authority added that over the years, it had been “consistently improving operations and our facilities to provide a domestic service that is second to none in TT.

“As you are aware, we have introduced new ferries and increased the passenger capacity by 17 per cent per sailing, allowing the service to accommodate increased demand at very short notice.”

It said in July and August 2023, around 95,585 and 114,017 passengers respectively used those services.

“The board and management of the Port Authority felt it necessary to provide the above information as we remain committed to providing this essential service to the people of TT, and to achieving our mandate of providing a safe and reliable service.

“We recognise the importance of all our stakeholders which includes the THA and we will continue to work with all to ensure that the needs of the travelling public are fulfilled.”