Jamaica News: Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, is inviting stakeholder input on the 15-point plan to overhaul the transport sector, which he presented in his 2018/19 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Montague said a six-month window of opportunity is being opened to enable persons to make additional suggestions to his proposals, in an effort to instil order and stability to the transport system.
“Do not come to the table to criticise the proposals… come to the table with your proposals. If you do not agree with (mine) that is fine… no problem. (But present) alternatives, because we have agreed that the system cannot stay the way it is,”the Minister said.
He was addressing the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association (JGRA) road safety launch and blood drive, at the Total service station on Red Hills Road, St. Andrew on Wednesday (June 6).
Mr. Montague assured that the Ministry’s proposals are not “cast in stone” and that Jamaicans “must be given every opportunity to play a part in revamping the vital industry”.
Among the proposals are that all taxis be fitted with a stipulated vehicle locator that must always be on; that all drivers must be in possession of an up-to-date badge; and that if operators accumulate 10 points against their badge, it be immediately suspended.
“If you are caught driving without a current badge, not only is the driver (to be) penalised, but the owner of the vehicle must also be penalised, because they must have responsibility to ensure that the driver of their vehicle is in good stead,” the Minister stated.
Other proposals are that all drivers must submit proof of participation in customer service driver education annually, which will be administered in partnership with associations; and that illegal taxis be seized if no attempt is made to regularise their status.
Meanwhile, Mr. Montague indicated that more technology will be introduced at the Island Traffic Authority (ITA), which is tasked with administering the Road Traffic Act’s provisions to ensure vehicle fitness, roadworthiness and general standards of safety compliance.
“Soon, when you take your cars to the (ITA) depot, you will have to park the car in a predetermined location that is geofenced. If the machine doesn’t sense the car, it will not generate a fitness certificate. We are (also) moving to automate the driver’s licence application system,” he said.
President of the JGRA, Philip Chong, said his organisation will continue to lobby its partners, including the Government, police, private sector and stakeholders in the wider community, to persistently engage in vigilance to “make the roads safe for all of us”.
He added that it is the partnerships forged with these groups that will aid in reducing carnage on the roadways.
Mr. Chong also hailed the efforts of the police in deploying their members at major intersections across the Corporate Area as well as the National Security Ministry’s implementation of the ‘JamaicaEye’ initiative.
JamaicaEye, which is underpinned by a network of CCTV cameras, is designed to assist the authorities in responding to incidents such as disasters, acts of criminality or accidents.
For his part, Head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Traffic and Highway Division, Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Allen, informed that pedestrians and motorcyclists lead the road fatality figures for 2018.
Since the start of the year, about 147 persons have died in road accidents, representing a six per cent decline in the figure over the corresponding period last year, which stood at 153.
Mr. Allen noted that there have been 207,000 prosecutions of motorists for various traffic violations, adding that further interventions by the police are coming.
The month of June is being observed by the JGRA as Road Safety Month under the theme ‘Leave Sooner, Drive Slower, Live Longer’.
Source: JIS News