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Enough is enough – Transport operators could withdraw service Monday

Transport operators could withdraw service Monday

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President of the Transport Operator Development Sustainable Service (TODSS) Egerton Newman is advising commuters across the island to make alternative preparations for transportation to work and school, as operators intend to withdraw their service on Monday.

Newman said a number of issues affecting operators, some having to do with government policies, financing, and ticket amnesty, have converged to the point where they feel that a total withdrawal of their service would effectively demonstrate their point.

“Enough is enough. We cannot take it anymore,” Newman said in a five-minute voice note circulated by him.

It listed the grievances of the transport operators. 

He called the gas assistance announced by the Finance and Public Service Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke a political stunt as those who applied for the subsidy were rejected because of their license.

“It is regrettable from all directions that the minister of finance would make such an announcement that he would be giving the transport sector $600 million in grant facilities for their challenge in buying fuel. 

To date, since that announcement was made, less than 2,000 persons received that $25,000 grant,” Newman pointed out.

He said that it is unfortunate that it was never meant to be, as thousands of applicants started receiving messages informing them that they were not qualified for the grant.

“The government used it as a political stunt to revive the sector, but it hasn’t. 

It has made us worse because many of us were depending on that money.

“All we can see on our phones is that we are not qualified or license that we have with Transport Authority, renewal every year or every four years, our license nuh good; we don’t have a valid license,” he said.

The transport operators are livid that some $200 million that was allocated by the government to provide loans to them to improve their vehicles is being offered at a 14 percent interest rate.

Additionally, those applying for the loan would have to reportedly traverse a web of bureaucratic red tape, which includes proof of a pattern of banking before the application can be considered.

“The system is not set up where the common taxi man can go to the bank every week. 

It is not there. 

It is the same with the JUTC [Jamaica Urban Transit Company], it is the government who has to give them money. 

So where should the taxi man get it from?” he asked.

Newman has also been calling for a traffic ticket amnesty for some time now.

“With all of this on our shoulders, we have asked for an amnesty, and they can’t give us one. 

Mark it down; come Monday morning, all taxi drivers across the length and breadth of Jamaica that have outstanding tickets beware. 

Don’t go to work Monday morning,” he said.

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