No relaxing PPV tint guidelines - Drivers still being prosecuted for breaches, says Allen
More than a year after the Government issued several policy guidelines governing tint on public passenger vehicles (PPV), the police are insisting that the rules have not been relaxed as they continue to prosecute PPV operators who are found to be in breach.
Following the initial announcement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on February 8 last year, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, head of the Police Traffic Division, outlined the regulations.
Allen explained that PPV operators who were found to be in breach of the guidelines were liable for prosecution (issuance of a ticket for $2,500). However, if they readily complied, they would be allowed to remove the tint on the spot, and receive assistance in doing so.
He added that if the operator was not compliant, not only would the tint be removed, but also the registration plates of the vehicle.
Updating The Gleaner on Monday, Allen stated: "You'll see a red-plate vehicle out there with tint on it, but some of those vehicles are JUTA (Jamaica Union of Travellers Association) vehicles and JUTA has some exemptions. However, the whole aspect of prosecution re tinting has not been relaxed.
"As it relates to the normal PPVs, we continue to work in that regard. Up to as recent as a week or so ago, we had a team on the Mandela Highway and tints were removed.
"There are other instances where many undisciplined persons will, after prosecution, go back and retint their vehicles. So, it's an ongoing process that we have to treat with, but several prosecutions have been done last year and since the start of this year. We have not relaxed at all," he stated.
"The type of tint that is on a PPV, especially a taxi, is crucial as it relates to the safety of the travelling public, so it is an area that we will not relax on," Allen noted.
Be vigilant, cop tells travelling public
Noting that there continue to be instances where public passengers, females in particular, board taxis and are either robbed or harmed, Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Allen has again urged the travelling public to exercise greater vigilance when selecting transportation.
Allen, who heads the police's Traffic Division, told The Gleaner that while there is no discernible increase in these incidents so far this year, even one occurrence is too many.
"We continue to see instances where our female passengers, especially, are just hopping into public passenger vehicles (PPV), mostly taxis, without having that sort of comforting knowledge that the operator is upright," asserted Allen.
"Your safety, in many respects, is in your own hands, so, while we are enforcing and providing security generally, we want for you to take far greater precaution towards your own personal safety," he charged.
To this end, the senior police officer argued that although the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) isn't foolproof, it is a safer option for travelling than randomly boarding PPVs.
"It is even worse if it is a white-plate vehicle, although there are some red-plate vehicles that are also not legitimate in terms of what will play out in the long run," he added.
"When you board a JUTC bus, there's no guessing as to whether or not it is a JUTC bus. But, when you hop on to one of those taxis, you're not certain as to whether or not you're in a legitimate taxi or you're in one where the operator has different things in his mind in terms of criminal acts, so these are some of the things we must contemplate," Allen reasoned.