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TRANSPORT CHALLENGE: Manchester taxis fail to use parks

Published:Tuesday | July 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey

While urban bus parks are faced with mounting crime and traffic breaches, similar problems continue to seep into rural areas, making the need for stricter islandwide law enforcement necessary.

According to Manchester traffic officer Constable Omar Bramwell, crimes such as extortion remain a cause for concern.

"To the average person, it may not be seen, but in the parks, you have persons known as back-up men, and the bus operators are expected to pay these men, a fee of $1,000 per day. Failure to pay this fee will result in the bus operators either not being able to load or taking a longer time to load."

He added: "On a scale of one to 10, I would rate this problem of extortion a seven."

As it regards the prevalence of illegal, or 'robot', taxi operators, Bramwell said this exists primarily in deep rural areas.

"We have partnered with the Transport Authority to clamp down on illegal taxis, so we are not having that problem in the town areas, but we find that it exists more in the deep rural areas."

LOSING REVENUE

But while the police have their hands full with problems daily, the parish council is losing revenue as the taxi and bus operators are using the parks less.

Acting secretary-manager at the Manchester Parish Council, Doyen Johnson, told The Gleaner that one park has the capacity to hold 60 per cent of the passenger-vehicle cohort at a time and on a rotational basis can provide accommodation for all. However, the taxis are still failing to use the park.

"There is vast indiscipline on the part of the taxi operators, who prefer to park on the side of the road and have passengers enter the cars from there ... . If they use the parks, the traffic could be lessened and, of course, the parish council would be able to benefit."

rural@gleanerjm.com