Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Judge reserves judgment in transport dispute

Published:Saturday | January 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Gladstone Taylor / Photographer World champion swimmer in the women's 100metres breastroke, Alia Atkinson (left) is applauded as she enters the lounge of the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday. Looking on from right are Allan Marsh, Christopher Samuda, Secretary General of the Jamaica Olympic Association; Martin Lyn, President of the Amateur Swimming Association and Don Wehby, Grace Kennedy's Chief Executive Officer. Grace Kennedy organised the homecoming welcome for the local star.

SUPREME Court judge Justice Vivienne Harris yesterday reserved judgement in the application brought by a transport group which is seeking to challenge the authority of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) to grant subfranchise licences to operate in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR).

The Rural Transit Company Limited, which is being represented by Attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman, is also challenging the authority of the JUTC to charge fees to operate in the KMTR.

The group is contending that the action of the state-owned bus company is unlawful.

Last year, the JUTC reclaimed many of its routes in the KMTR and discontinued its subfranchise arrangement with dozens of public passenger operators.

The bus company also increased fees charged to operators who were granted new subfranchise licences.

The operators claimed that the fees moved from $250,000 to $810,000.

Last September, Supreme Court judge Justice Lennox Campbell granted the transport group leave to go to the Judicial Review Court to challenge the constitutionality of the decision of the JUTC to commandeer a section of the Mandela Highway.

The matter is set to begin in court on February 26.

Meanwhile, the group had also sought a declaration that the Office of Utilities Regulations (OUR) and not the Transport Authority has regulatory oversight for public transportation.

However, the application was turned down.

Justice Campbell held that it is the Transport Authority and not the OUR which has responsibility for regulating the public transportation sector.

Before the start of the court battle, the OUR Act stated that the OUR has regulatory oversight for all public transportation.

However, while the matter was before the courts the Government passed a resolution removing that responsibility from the OUR.