Jamaica News: Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, on Thursday (July 5), kicked off a series of consultations on the 16-point proposals aimed at overhauling the public transportation system.
The meeting, held at the Wolmer’s Boys’ School Auditorium in Kingston, included representatives of rural stage carriages, contract carriages, hackney carriages, and route taxi associations.
It provided a forum to fine-tune the measures, which the Minister had outlined during his Sectoral presentation on May 30, and for the stakeholders to present their own recommendations.
“We are here because I believe if you are in an industry, it cannot be static. An industry must change and the public-passenger industry in Jamaica is due for some change,” Minister Montague told the meeting.
Among the recommendations is the opening up of all public transportation routes. The Minister said that persons should be able to design and craft their own routes and apply for it to be registered.
“Nobody is better qualified than the people in their community to know how people move, so I am saying, keep the existing routes that the Transport Authority has and if a man wants to decide his route [he should be allowed],” he argued.
Mr. Montague said it is being recommended that once an individual is awarded a route, it must be kept for a minimum of 30 days before an application can be made for a route change.
Others proposals are that the period for renewal of licences must be in the owner’s birth month, and not in April as is the current practice, and that the Transport Authority issue three-year permits, but with annual renewal.
In addition, all taxis should be fitted with a stipulated vehicle locator that must be operational at all times.
“This is an opportunity to know where your vehicle is, and [it] gives you, the owner an electronic record and reading of how your vehicle has been operating,” Mr. Montague pointed out.
He said, further, that anyone caught operating a taxi illegally will have their vehicle seized, and it will only be returned once proof is brought forward that the operator has applied for a road licence. If it is seized again, the vehicle will be taken away permanently.
Minister Montague will be engaging with stakeholders in the transport sector over a six-month period.
He thanked them for their willingness to communicate on issues surrounding the sector. “We are lifting the industry from a hustle to a business,” he said.
Source: JIS News