After being off the road for two months, Sean Lewis, 51, the owner and driver of Lewis Transit, is eager to get back in business.
Having been the breadwinner in a household of seven during the economic crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has been challenging.
“That little change what you got and funds what you had in savings, all that done eat up,” Lewis said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.
“I’ve been getting by with the national insurance. I got my last payment this same week. Then the church was a blessing to me also.”
Lewis, who has been a driver for over a decade, said he has had to adapt and try to make ends meet however he can while out of work.
He said he has tried to make a little money by using his truck for hire, using the funds that came in just to buy food for his family.
“Everybody else has been laid off through this pandemic, so that’s how it is in my family right now,” he said.
“My shoulders are beginning to buckle [because] of the pressure.
“[I] need this disease to go away, so me and fellow Bahamians can get back [to work] right now, because my bills right now are going into the next generation.”
Despite it all, Lewis’ demeanor would never betray the pressure on his shoulders.
When The Guardian spoke with him, he was upbeat and optimistic about when bus drivers like him may be able to get back on the road.
“I’ve got to keep my spirits up because I’ve got people looking at me,” Lewis said.
“And so, I’ve got to stay looking positive and just hold a good face to help encourage them from being disappointed or saying that we’re losing this battle.”
Buses were ordered to stop all operation in mid-March as the country began to grapple with a COVID-19 outbreak.
But with the state of emergency set to end on May 30 and a phased plan to reopen the economy underway, Lewis is hoping that he won’t have to bear the burden much longer.
“There’s no word that we’re going to be opening up, but I’m just watching the news and listening to the prime minister and stuff like that,” Lewis said.
“As long as the count [of positive COVID-19 cases] continues to drop and stabilize, I believe we will be on that next list of getting back to daily basis.”
He added, “If everything pans out, I’ll say by the first of June, everything should look good for that time.”
In anticipation of that time, Lewis already has a sanitization plan in place and even said he is planning on giving back by allowing all passengers to ride for free the first day service resumes.
Healthcare workers and law enforcement workers, he added, will be able to ride free on his bus for the first five days.
In the meantime, he said he wants to encourage fellow bus drivers to “hold on”.
“God will never leave us alone,” Lewis said.
“This is a time now where you must be a man and stay strong and do not do [anything] out of the way. You’ve got to now learn to spend that dollar in the right area.
“This is not no time to be spending your monies right now, because we don’t know how long this is going to be and so, we just hope that this blows over as quick as possible, God’s willing.”