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JUTC sub-franchise fee hike, licence withdrawal irks lawyer representing those affected

Published:Sunday | January 11, 2015 | 1:23 AM

A decision by the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) to proceed with hiking sub-franchise fees and withdrawing licences amid an ensuing court battle has irked attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman.



According to Wildman, the JUTC has gone ahead with plans to raise sub-franchise fees for some bus operators and was not renewing some sub-franchise agreements, despite a court challenge related to both issues.



On Friday, High Court Judge Vivienne Harris reserved judgment in a constitutional motion filed by the Rural Transit Company Limited challenging JUTC’s authority to grant sub-franchise licences to operate in the Kingston Metropolitan Region.



Wildman, who represented the Rural Transit Company, says in light of the reserved judgment, the JUTC should have suspended the planned increase in sub-franchise fees and the non-renewal of sub-franchise agreements.



The attorney argued that this is a normal practice when matters are pending in the courts.



But managing director of the JUTC, Colin Campbell, says the court has not barred him from carrying out his duties.



He says every year the JUTC conducts a review of its operations which determine the number of spaces that are available for private operators.



Addressing the non-renewal of sub-franchise licenses, the JUTC boss revealed that the company is getting a shipment of 27 new buses in April.



As a result, he says the JUTC will be faced with the challenge of finding enough space in the Kingston Metropolitan Region to operate these buses viably.



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