Cops ignoring bike taxis for now

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 14, 2018

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THE police say, for now, they will not be pursuing motorcyclists who have been using their bikes as taxis to capitalise on the nightmarish traffic congestion in sections of the Corporate Area.

The traffic jams have been caused by the closure of Portia Simpson Miller Square, formerly Three Miles, due to an ongoing road improvement project.

The closure is expected to last for eight months.

Head of the Public Safety Division of the newly established Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, Deputy Superintendent Errol Adams, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the police's focus, at this time, is ensuring that commuters get to their destinations in a timely manner.

He was responding to yesterday's front-page story, which reported that some bikers have been offering a shuttle service from Molynes Road to Half-Way-Tree in St Andrew, at a cost of $150. The cost of the ride could be more, depending on the destination of the commuter.

“We are ignoring them for now,” Deputy Superintendent Adams told the Observer at the intersection of Hagley Park and Waltham Park roads yesterday.

The DSP, who was seen observing the traffic flow, insisted that the greater issue is to alleviate the frustration and anxiety being experienced by commuters.

“I have heard the stories and I can say it is illegal, but we know the Jamaican environment. Where there is a challenge people will find creative means to capitalise on it and, too, to get to where they want to go, and I think that is what is happening. I have heard the reports and I think that I might have seen a few of them, but the greater focus now is to get the motoring traffic and the motoring public to work,” Adams explained.

The policeman alluded to the fact that the mission is being accomplished, despite commuters' complaints.

“We all know what happened Monday, but from Monday leading into this morning we have seen gradual improvements. Let me establish though, that traffic congestion, I mean peak-hour traffic congestion, is a feature of any public space. What we aim to do is manage it, and to have traffic flow as freely as possible. We have been able to achieve that consistently since Monday, and this morning was no different,” he said.

At the same time, he insisted that since Monday's gridlock, the situations has not reoccurred.

The policeman, who was quick to point out factors contributing to the traffic congestion, said motorists are now more familiar with the traffic changes when compared to Monday.

“People are now comfortable and familiar with the new network, so that level of confidence and reassurance is now evident. So people just drive knowing exactly where they are going and which route to take,” he maintained.

Notwithstanding the views expressed by the deputy superintendent, commuters heading towards Half-Way-Tree by way of Washington Boulevard, Wednesday morning were stuck in traffic.

According to him, a broken National Water Commission main on Constant Spring Road contributed to the customary rush-hour traffic.

Yesterday morning, when the Observer visited Hagley Park Road, Bay Farm Road, Mahoe Drive, Washington Boulevard, Waltham Park Road, and Spanish Town Road, among others, traffic flowed freely.

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