Sun | Nov 17, 2019

Law and order and taxi drivers

Published:Thursday | October 17, 2019 | 10:04 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Andre Wright’s piece ‘Will public transport survive Bobby’s bomb?’ is a masterpiece of tasteful and analytical writing. I share his sentiments and have written publicly, as well as to Minister Montague about the chaos that passes for a road traffic system.

The police are not exempt from blame for the ‘wild west’ that our roads have become, but the role of lawmakers in fostering the conditions under which anarchy thrives must be highlighted. Mr Montague’s ideas on how public transport should work will have terrible consequences for other road users who are, at least for now, the majority. They might not be after taxis take over. The ‘anarchy producers’ on our roads emerge from deeply rooted circumstances going back to poor schooling and socialisation, aided and abetted by inadequate law enforcement.

When (mostly) young men with no marketable skills are being churned out by the educational system, how are they to earn a living? They’re typically not short on energy, so one sort of hustle or another is what they turn to. Many become ‘drivers’, as your columnist pointed out, hustling to make the ‘bossman’s’ share because only after that do their earnings clocks start to tick. To call what many of them do driving is to do violence to the word. The police and transport authority who must restrain the lawlessness are not doing a good job at all.

FLAWED TICKET SYSTEM

How does one accumulate 1,000 tickets? How can the ticket be regarded as a meaningful item when a driver simply tosses it away and continues on his way? He’s not even hiding. Why can’t our systems identify these guys after only a few tickets, especially when they might be getting multiple tickets per day?

Mr Montague is deluded in his belief that market forces can tame these guys. What will happen is that the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) withers, politicians (including Mr Montague) bleat about the subsidy they must give to JUTC, more craziness on the roads as more and more taxis/robots/buses jostle for passengers, and increased lawlessness in society as people realise more clearly that ‘law and order’ is only an idea, not a practice on our roads.

M. Nicholson