When to take Mr Egeton Newman seriously

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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Admittedly , because of the numerous typographical and spelling errors in the news releases from the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS), one is hard-pressed to take Mr Egeton Newman, its president, seriously.

And that is after getting past the peculiar name of the organisation — Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services – not to mention the rampant indiscipline of too many calling themselves transport operators.

All this is further exacerbated by the penchant of the TODSS for issuing ultimatums, especially about raising taxi fares or reversing some government policy, only to abandon them when ignored and issue new ones to await the same fate.

So the question is, when do we take Mr Newman and the TODSS seriously? The answer is now.

In its latest release carried in the letters section of the Jamaica Observer yesterday, Mr Newman called on the Government, through the Transport Authority, to “immediately stop the issuing of road licences”.

He, moreover, urged the Administration to move towards the implementation of a “national public transportation drivers training programme”, aimed at reducing the indiscipline in the transportation sector.

Yes, nothing is wrong with your eyes and you are seeing correctly!

“The time has come for the Government to put measures in place to ensure that passengers travel with the highest level of comfort and safety, and not continue to be subject to the level of indiscipline now plaguing the sector, where owners of public passenger vehicles (PPV) are allowing anyone to operate them just because they have a PPV licence, but no training.

We are recommending, that effective immediately, anyone acquiring a road licence at the Transport Authority must obtain a driver from a pool of drivers at the Authority, or the owner must first show that his/or her driver and conductor have a certificate from a certified driver training institute that goes with an operating badge.”

It's difficult to decide whether to laugh and or cry. But if Mr Newman, like the fish coming from the bottom of the sea, tells us shark is down there, we should believe it. The TODSS president is admitting to the wanton lawlessness and absolute chaos which reigns on our roads in the name of public transportation.

Of course, he doesn't seem to include his members in that but we can ignore that as 'turfism' and internal politics. If Transport Minister Robert Montague has never taken Mr Newman seriously, he should now because he has implicated the ministry in the worst way, not that that is anything new.

The TODSS further argues that come the next licence renewal period — February 2020 — all drivers must be required to submit to the authority “a certificate showing that he or she has completed a 72-hour customer service training course with a certified institution, such as HEART Trust/NTA”.

We're constrained to give Mr Newman the last word:

“Let's get to work. Such a programme can be rolled out in 90 days if we are serious about transforming the sector.

Transport groups like ours are being blamed every day for the erosion of the sector, now we are making the strongest of suggestions to address the problem and start training and development.”


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