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Bus drivers' relocation postponed 'indefinitely', says Transport Authority

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Transport Authority has advised that plans to change the termination point for rural stage carriage operators from Darling Street to the downtown Municipal Transport Centre on Water Lane, in Kingston, has been postponed “indefinitely”.

In a release yesterday, the Transport Authority said the decision was reached after consultation with stakeholders.

The change in termination point would have impacted operators from the parishes of Manchester, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, and St Catherine.

“As such, licences that were amended to reflect the proposed change will be recalled to facilitate the necessary amendments and reprinting by the authority, the release said.

The Transport Authority's decision comes about three weeks after bus drivers withdrew their services because of the proposed change, leaving hundreds of commuters stranded.

The drivers claimed that the decision was the Government's effort to favour the State-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) which, they said, does not find it feasible to operate from the municipal centre.

But Transport Authority Managing Director Cecil Morgan said then that the decision, which should've taken effect on August 2, was part of efforts to reduce congestion in the overcrowded Darling Street bus station.

“The objective is not to assist the JUTC in any way or form. As a matter of fact, there are some 330 operators who will be affected by this move but we couldn't relocate them inside Darling Street, hence the decision was taken,” Morgan said.

Yesterday, the Transport Authority said it is committed to continuing the dialogue with all the stakeholders to ensure an orderly, disciplined and respected transport sector.

The Municipal Transport Centre was opened in 2011 at a cost of $400 million, dwarfing its initial $160-million budget. The facility was built to reduce traffic in the Parade area in downtown Kingston.