Transport groups want uniform deadline extended by 30 days

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Three transport groups are calling for a 30-day extension in the deadline by which operators of public passenger vehicles are required to be attired in uniform.

Come April 1, all hackney carriage and contract carriage operators must wear uniform.

Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS), the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO) and the National Association of Transport Operators (NATO) in a joint statement yesterday commended the move but said it should be tied to a fare increase or a reduction of the tax on gas.

They argued that “operators are unable to maintain the daily up keep of their units (and) repay bank loans,” pointing to those in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region “whose travel time and daily income has been cut in half due to the ongoing road works”.

Under section 123 (a) of the Road Traffic Amendment (2005) Regulations, uniforms have been designated for operators of rural stage carriage and route taxi associations.

The Transport Authority, in a recent release, said after consultation with the Ministry of Transport and Mining it was decided that uniform for hackney, contract and express carriages shall be:

• Where operators are currently affiliated with a taxi or tour company which has an established uniform for drivers, the company shall seek approval from the authority to have such uniform and any modification to such uniform, approved by the authority.

• Uniforms approved by the authority from time to time for established sub-sector groupings, such as those regulated by the Jamaica Tourist Board, shall be worn by operators within that sub-sector. The authority shall make available to the public a listing of such groupings and any change to such listing from time to time.

• In all other instances, the operator shall wear a clean uniform consisting of a plain denim or cotton dress pants or skirt, which shall be black or navy blue in colour. Pants should also be ankle length, without perforations, patches or unapproved designs, while shirts shall be white Oxford type or polo shirts.

The transport groups said they have affixed blue ribbons to several buses and taxis in a six-day silent protest, “calling on the Government to give an understanding and listening ear to our many problems”. The protest began yesterday and will end on Sunday.

The groups pointed out further concerns including, a lack of parking space for PPV operators, which they said creates an overflow of buses and taxis at major intersections, giving rise to physical confrontation between State officials and PPV operators.

“No one to speak for us, everyone is against us because some of us are really out of order — mainly illegal operators to whom the State has no interest in removing from the street because most of them are owned by State officials,” the groups said.

They said an extension of 30 days would allow operators to put themselves in order and prevent clashes between operators and state officials.

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