Thu | Apr 25, 2019

Montague says fare increase is not his responsibility

Published:Saturday | September 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Transport Minister Robert Montague says that while he has agreed to meet with the National Council of Taxi Associations (NCOTA) to hear its concern in relation to a fare increase, he wants to make it clear that granting a fare increase is not his responsibility.

"The way the law is, an application [for a fare increase] has to be made to the relevant authority, and the last time I checked, there have been no applications before the relevant authority," said Montague, while addressing Thursday's official launch of the Ride Jamaica taxi service mobile app in Montego Bay. "It is not within the remit of the ministry to do that as that is ministerial overreach."

"There is the relevant authority that makes the assessment, does the necessary research and studies, and makes a recommendation, so it is out of my remit," added Montague.

During the previous administration, the then transport minister, Dr Omar Davies, announced a 25 per cent fare increase for public passenger vehicles in 2013. In 2014, he also announced a fare increase for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).

Earlier this week, members of the Western Taxi Association said that Jamaica's current economic climate necessitates a fare increase, countering last month's claim by Montague that an increase would not be considered at this time.

On Thursday, Montague said that his ministry was prepared to examine proposals to improve the local transportation sector, including the Montego Bay Metro bus service, whose employees recently demanded wages and benefits similar to those of their JUTC counterparts.