Jamaica News: Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, says the Government is moving to regularise the “robot” taxi industry by encouraging operators to register as a company with the Transport Authority (TA).
“We are offering them the opportunity to become formalised, so we are freeing up the licence,” he said at a meeting with members of Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS) at the Ministry in Kingston on Thursday (January 31).
“In the past, the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) would close the route. You could not get a licence on certain routes. We have opened up these routes, so it is not difficult for a person to get a road traffic licence,” he added.
He noted that the Ministry is also moving to “allow persons to craft their own routes and register them with us, so there is no excuse not to apply”.
The Transport Minister said that another strategy being employed is limiting the number of licences held by a private citizen.
“Transport operators will not be able to get more than three private licences. Right now, an individual can get any amount of licences. Once you exceed this number, you should be registered as a company,” he said.
He noted that discussions are being held with insurance companies in order to enable operators to provide passengers with some protection in the event of a road accident.
“Now if it (insurance) is on a company, and an accident occurs and a claim is made, the passenger is in a better position,” he pointed out.
Minister Montague said that the Government will be working with the courts, insurance companies and the Island Traffic Authority to treat with persons who are caught and convicted of operating illegally.
“If a person insists on running as a robot taxi, we have to robustly deal with them. The appeal is that all persons who are operating as robots… should go to the TA and apply for their licence,” Mr. Montague said.
“The challenge that we have is to change the mindset that the transport industry is a hustle and make it into a business. There are some operators that have been in the business for over 40 years. I want to leverage their experience to make it better for them,” he added.
Source: JIS News