WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9: A 10-strong fleet of new buses will arrive in Bermuda this year to bolster the island’s aging public transport system.

The vehicles, which were ordered under the previous Government, are expected to be on the roads by the middle of the year.

And Tourism and Transport Minister, Shawn Crockwell, hopes the move will help prevent the “transport nightmare” that plagued Dockyard last year.

Mr Crockwell told the Bermuda Sun that plans were being drawn up to deal with the inaugural trip of the super cruise liner, Norwegian Breakaway, and her 4,000 passengers.

And he revealed that “innovative ways of supplementing the ferry service” were also being looked at to better manage the influx of cruise visitors around the island later this year. He said: “The transport system we have is sufficient but there is still plenty of room for improvements. We need to get as many buses roadworthy and offer a service that locals and tourists deserve.

“The maintenance of our bus and ferry fleet has to be a priority.

“We have to have the necessary parts and expertise on island to deal with problems and issues that arise.

“And we also plan to bring in another 10 new buses, which should be coming on line in the middle of the year.”

The Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Breakaway is scheduled to make its first of 22 trips from Bermuda to New York in May.

And the new Transport Minister admitted there were a number of issues that needed to be ironed out before then.

He told the Sun: “We have to make sure the wharfs at Dockyard are repaired as well as ensure the transport nightmare we saw last year is not repeated.

“We have a close eye on what progress is being made with the wharves, and we are determined to be ready for the start of the cruise ship season.

“Everyone involved with the infrastructure around Dockyard from WEDCO, to Marine and Ports and Transport, needs to understand their role and what is expected of them. That way we can avoid the transport chaos we have seen up there in the past.”

Mr Crockwell added: “We also need to look at making Dockyard an even more attractive destination for tourists.

“There is a mindset from some passengers to get out of Dockyard as soon as they arrive and we need to counter that.

“If we can keep people in Dockyard there is not going to be such a rush and pressure on the transport system to get everyone to Horseshoe or Hamilton as soon as they get off the ship. And this obviously helps local business up there too.”