Opposition appeals to Gov’t to end chaos in transport sector

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The Opposition is calling for an immediate end to what it describes as the punishment of the commuting public caused by the withdrawal of public transportation services.

Opposition Spokesperson on Transport and Works, Mikael Phillips, in a release Monday called on the government to allow good sense to prevail to immediately end the ongoing transportation crisis, which is now causing widespread dislocation in the public transport system islandwide.

Phillips also appealed to the transport operators to end their withdrawal of services and recommended that the operators and the government re-open dialogue on their outstanding issues.

In a statement Monday morning, Phillips said students and workers, especially essential services, were hindered in going about their lawful activities through no fault of their own.

According to the Opposition spokesperson, these issues could be resolved through dialogue and a willingness, to be honest about the ills that plague Jamaica’s public transport.

He noted that the minister of transport has taken a governance-by-silence approach to the issues in the transport sector.

“The minister has been silent on numerous issues, including the management of JUTC [Jamaica Urban Transit Company] and the Transport Authority, and with hours into an islandwide strike, the Government is yet to respond. 

Thousands of students, workers, and the elderly have been left stranded amidst the strike, which could have been avoided had the government resolved the issues with the transport operators,” he said in a release on Monday morning.

Phillips said he had warned many times recently that public transport was in crisis, yet the government failed to respond positively to any of the concerns and proposals for improvement of the industry.

In the statement, Phillips said he had specifically proposed an intense public education program prior to the implementation of the new Road Traffic Act and Regulations, yet with only days before the effective date, nothing had been done.

The Opposition spokesperson also called on the Government to ensure that the administration of the traffic ticketing system is applied in accordance with the law and with the highest standards of efficiency and correctness.

He said from his information there had been credible complaints that payment of tickets is no guarantee that they will be consistently recorded across the system as the coordination between the police, court, and tax offices are woefully inadequate.

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