Good Afternoon to the Bermuda Public and members of the media.
I am here today to provide you with an overview of the Ministry of Transport’s plans for the Budget year, 2021-2022, and to demonstrate how the Ministry of Transport seeks to fulfill itsmission of transporting people and goods efficiently and safely, during these challenging times.
I want to first of all thank the Department heads, the Ministry of Transport staff, and all those who worked tirelessly to ensure that we were able to come up with an outcome that best supports our community.
2020 was a challenging year for many of us, and at the Ministry of Transport, we were not exempt from the impact of Covid
-19. Not only did we have to shift the way we approachedtransportation issues facing the public, but we had to adjust how we solved these problems. I am proud to say that we have endured and look to build a foundation that will provide a consistent, reliable, and sustainable service.
For fiscal year 2021-2022, the Ministry of Transport has received a budget allocation of
$59,104,000. (Last year’s budget was a total of $101,806,000).
The Ministry’s budget for the following Departments is as follows:
2021-2022 2020-2021 Difference
-Ministry of Transport Headquarters $15,504,000 $59,531,000 -$23,324,000
-Transport Control Department (TCD) $4,496,000 $5,451,000 -$955,000
-Department of Public Transportation(DPT) $19,532,000 $22,368,000 -$2,836,00
-Marine and Ports $19,572,000 $21,662,000 -$2,090,000
The total savings/reductions for the new fiscal year is $6.7 million from the defunding of vacant posts and operating costs. During this challenging financial year, the Ministry has done its part to provide funding to support other government initiatives and programmes such as seniors and young people, continued scholarships etc.
Ministry of Transport Headquarters
Taking a look first at the Ministry of Transport Headquarters, the Ministry anticipated a reduction in the Headquarters budget of $22.8 million as the Ministry of Transport is no longerresponsible for any tourism-related expenses. As such, this year’s budget does not include funding for the Bermuda Tourism Authority Grant and the Regulatory & Policy and HotelAdministration which have been transferred to the Cabinet Office.The remaining $824,000 decrease was achieved by reducing professional services, travel and training, and the Bermuda Airport Authority’s grant. However, we still have a focus on land and air opportunities. There will be an increase in air service development, with the Bermuda Airport Authority’s joint initiative with the Bermuda Tourism Authority. This will see us engaging more with jet setters and providing new opportunities via air service.
As part of the Air Service Development Committee, we willexplore opportunities for air service with Caribbean Air to tap into the Caribbean region. We will also work with SATA (AzoresAirlines) to transition the current charter flight between Bermuda and the Azores to seasonally scheduled weekly service. This flight will not only serve the underserved but will also provide residents with additional options for travelling to European destinations.
For a long time, we as a country have struggled to find a balance between cruise ship arrivals and air visitors. The Ministry of Transport will create an environment which will promote harmonization between our cruise and air industries. This will require us to work with our cruise line partners for opportunities to establish Bermuda as a homeport in the interest of revitalizing tourism activity and the economy.
Transport Control Department
Despite the $900,000 decrease in this department via defunding funded vacant posts, overtime, and miscellaneous projects that have been pushed back to the next budget year, I am pleased to announce that the Transport Control Department will be able to maintain the current level of service delivery standards.
Department of Public Transportation
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the staff of DPT as well as the public for their support and understanding while we work to procure new buses and continue with the recent recruitment drive. Utilising the impact of Covid
-19 on our department to lay the work for a stable foundation and service, our aim is that by next year, our commuters can be certain that all of our scheduled buses will arrive on time.
It might be helpful to note that DPT currently operates with the lowest inventory and bus operators since the ‘60s.
The Department of Public Transportation will see a $2.8 million decrease achieved by defunding funded vacant posts, overtime, and reducing administration operating costs.
Taking a page out of the Covid
-19 handbook, we want to be operating in real-time, with real-world data. This includesimplementing real-time, digital fare media, add-ons, and Wi-Fi to the buses and ferries which will help to modernize the day-to-day experience for our commuting public.
To say this past year has been tough is an understatement and the impact on our day-to-day commuters has been unprecedented. Through it all, we were able to find $1.3 million from vacant posts as well as other operational savings resulting from curfew and lockdown periods to contract minibuses for dedicated school runs.
This year we will develop a schedule that is not only budget friendly but one that is sustainable, consistent and reliable.
Transport Control Department
Marine and Ports will see a two million dollar decrease achieved by defunding funded vacant posts, overtime, and the reduction of operating costs. The reduced budget will not impact the upcoming Triple I Code Audit.
It is important to note, that it is as a result of defunded posts that we can meet the budget cash limits, but it also means that we can’t do that without reducing some services. There will be a modified ferry schedule that is achievable within the budget allocation.
I am pleased to advise that the Ministry will continue its commitment to invest in its people and infrastructure to enhance the work lives of both Marine and Ports and DPT staff.
DPT will see $2.6 million in refurbishment and upgrade of the staff cafeteria, the spray paint booth, and bus washer at the Palmetto Road depot and a new operators’ facility at the St. George’s depot and renovation of the garage staff facilities at the Ft. Langton depot, which are over 30 years old.
There is also $6.6 million allocated for new electric buses which will improve the passenger experience and lower the amount of harmful emissions entering our atmosphere.
This year we will also move the Marine and Ports workshops from the current locations in Hamilton and Dockyard, under one roof at a new location in Dockyard. This project will allow adequate physical workspace for a safer work environment for the workshop teams at the cost of $3.3 million.
In closing, this budget allows the Ministry to lay the foundation on which we can provide consistent, reliable and sustainable service that will be outlined in the soon to be released 2021 Mobility Strategy. The Strategy will highlight top level priorities within the Ministry and the action plans to achieve them over the next three years.