Make more red plates available - transport sector spokesman
Egeton Newman, president of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services, yesterday urged Government to free up more public passenger vehicle (PPV) licences if it desires to clamp down on illegal taxi operators who cause mayhem on the island's roads.
Newman's sentiments followed a Gleaner article last Sunday highlighting that licensed taxi companies are adding to the mayhem by allowing unapproved operators of motor vehicles to register with their companies.
"It is a matter of demand and supply. The Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region has 7,000 vacant seats, as reported by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company management," said Newman, noting that there are a limited 17 hackney carriage companies in the KMTR, and that they often cannot meet the demand from commuters.
"If so many seats are vacant and there are no licences coming from the Transport Authority, illegal operators are going to try and fill the slot," he argued, adding that hackney-carriage companies - instead of denying commuters - will dispatch white-plate units to meet their demands.
"What we are asking for is that the Transport Authority open the market and allow more red-plate vehicles to come through," said Newman. "It will allow more persons to become red-plate or PPV operators rather than remain white-plate operators."
Last week, Petra-Kene Williams, communications manager at the Transport Authority, said the agency was concerned about the number of white-plate taxis being used by licensed hackney-carriage companies. Williams said passengers who took such taxis could be putting themselves at risk and may not be insured in the event of an accident.