Transport group complains of losing money

Friday, September 14, 2018

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The Transport Operators Development Sustainable Service (TODSS) yesterday complained that its members are losing revenue to other forms of transportation due to poor traffic management in the Corporate Area.

“Bike taxis and pool transportation have reduced our daily income, while on the other hand it is costing us more for fuel due to the delay in traffic,” TODSS President Egeton Newman said in a news release.

Newman did not say how much money the group's members were losing, and the Jamaica Observer was unable to contact him to elaborate on his claim.

Yesterday, the Observer reported that operators of motorcycles have been capitalising on the traffic snarls caused by extensive road works across the Corporate Area by offering shuttle services from Molynes Road to Half-Way-Tree in St Andrew at a cost of $150.

One commuter, Dwayne Turner, who was seen running late for work on Wednesday morning, hopping onto a Yeng Yeng motor bike operated by Dave Brown for a ride to Half-Way-Tree.

Brown told the Observer that he has been operating his motor bike as a taxi since Monday, describing the venture as feasible.

“Quick and fast, less than three (hours),” was how Brown described the time it took him to make $3,500.

The self-employed Waterhouse resident said he had been rearing animals up to last week.

Another bike taxi operator, Kirk Walton, said that when news broke that the busy Portia Simpson Miller Square would be closed he knew it would put a dent in his earnings as a bus operator on the Number 82 route, and so he resorted to his motorcycle.

“… From last week mi start transport people on my bike enuh; people all a call me,” Walton said, adding that he would now have to print business cards for commuters who may want his service. “Anything at all dem can call me, and I will do the work,” he added.

He disclosed that between 6:00 am and 9:00 am on Wednesday he made $5,000 with his bike taxi.

Another happy bike taxi operator, Keno Sutherland, said the congestion on the Corporate Area streets was good news for him as he was at home “just sitting down”.

“This is actually creating employment for me, and I love it,” Sutherland said, as he sat on his bike awaiting his next passenger.

Late Wednesday, Jamaica House reported that Prime Minister Andrew Holness met with senior management of the National Works Agency (NWA), the police, and China Harbour Engineering Company to discuss solutions to the traffic challenges that have been angering motorists and commuters.

Holness is reported to have instructed that more be done to inform the public of traffic changes. He also instructed them to employ more efficient management of traffic and diversions.

The NWA was also told to give specific designated routes for the public, especially for the alternate route for the Three Miles, Hagley Park and Constant Spring areas.

In addition, the prime minister underscored the need for the NWA to move immediately to improve the signage along the designated routes, consequent on the closure of Portia Simpson Miller Square.

He also said that the police must ensure adequate security presence is maintained on the designated routes in order to reduce the likelihood of further inconvenience to the travelling public.

Yesterday, TODSS said if the chaos is allowed to continue, its members “will have no choice but to cease operators as it makes no... sense to continue”.

The group said it welcomed the prime minister's plans to address the issue and called on the police to relax the issuing of tickets for road violations “and focus on managing traffic”.

“We also believe that dedicated routes should be put in place for public transportation and that the contractors do more work between 7:00 pm and 5:00 am and stagger their work hours in the peak time,” TODSS said.

The group also predicted that the expected change to the weather this weekend will make the situation worse in the Corporate Area.

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