THURSDAY, APRIL 5: Businesses who employ more than 10 guest workers will have the power to decide who can and cannot own a car, under a new policy announced by Transport Minister Dr. Ewart Brown today.

Single people and couples without children are likely to be most affected.

Dr. Brown said: "The aim of this formula is to limit the expatriate worker from purchasing a car at will and place the burden on employers to know their employees and to assess their genuine need for a car."

Also, as we first reported last year, Dr. Brown wants to make public transport free by the end of the year.

Other initiatives designed to cut down on traffic congestion include limiting the second hand car market; introducing from July 1 a year long moratorium on the granting of truck permits and toughening up the laws to ensure that a person lives at the address to which a car is registered.

Dr. Brown also said that he would be asking the Legislature to consider a Bill that "permits the impounding of vehicles where the vehicle is unlicensed or uninsured and also where a driver is driving whilst disqualified or without insurance."

There are about 50,000 cars on Bermuda's road - an increase of about 10,000 over the past five years. A study into sustainable development last year suggested tough measures have to be taken to protect our quality of life.

Over the past few years Government has worked to promote the use of public transport. It has introduced five fast ferries and improved some docks and introduced a 15-minute interval service on some of the bus routes.

Adding to that Dr. Brown said: "As of Monday, April 9 buses will provide new half-hourly schedules on routes 7, 8, 10 and 11. This addition to the existing schedule will create a 15-minute service to Dockyard and St. George's... the full 15-minute headway on the routes is expected to be in full operation as of May 14."

Dr. Brown said he still believes in implementing a water taxi service and urged any entrepreneurs to make them selves known.

Now the public transportation framework is here, it is time to "prescribe a more stringent regime in several areas of vehicle use in Bermuda," Dr. Brown said.

With regards the second hard car market Dr. Brown said it has to be limited. However, he added: "First we wish to provide an avenue for Bermudians to dispose of their cars such that its remaining economic value can be realized. This includes exploring markets for Bermuda's second hand cars overseas."

Ensuring assessment numbers match up to addresses is another priority.

Dr. Brown said amendments would "require the registered owner of a motor car to live at the address to which a car is registered and to make it an offence except in certain circumstances for a landlord to rent an apartment without an assessment number to which a vehicle might be registered."

Better enforcement of existing laws that would hold drivers more accountable for their actions on the roads is also expected later in the year.

Dr. Brown said: "Let me be clear, the resolution of our traffic problems requires bold and decisive action from Government and a willingness on the part of the community to make personal sacrifices.

"We are all affected by the problems and as such we must all play a part in the solution. The prospect of free public transport is more real now than ever before. The response of the community to these proposals will assist me in making the case for this change."