Thu | Jul 19, 2018

Less bureaucracy for taxis - Transport minister pledges changes in regulations

Published:Monday | June 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Students hold signs and banners during the annual Grennell‘s Driver School/Desnoes & Geddes Foundation 10th Jamaica Driver and Traffic Safety Expo, held Saturday at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew.

Acknowledging that the system now regulating taxis is heavily weighed down by red tape, Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague has pledged to make changes that will increase efficiency and safety on the roads. Speaking at the 10th annual Jamaica Driver and Traffic Safety Expo on Saturday, Montague said the Government would review the current system of assigning taxi routes to reduce barriers to entry and offer services to a wider public.

"You can't stay at home and call a cab if you live in any rural area. There are just no routes," he said. "We know that Kingston is not Jamaica and so we intend to have a public transportation system where legitimate operators can apply and get routes right across the country."

This, the minister contended, would translate to a safer traffic environment.

With road accidents claiming the lives of 155 persons since the start of the year, the minister reiterated his commitment to road safety through the CASH campaign.

"It takes CASH to care. I encourage all road users to make good and conscious choices when on the road. It is important that persons avoid consuming alcohol when driving. Also, motor vehicle users should wear their seatbelts, and motorcyclists must wear their helmets to reduce the chances of getting hurt."

 

Road safety saves

 

Now in its 10th year, the Jamaica Driver and Traffic Safety Expo, held last Saturday, focused on promoting behavioural change and presenting information in an engaging manner.

"We wanted to make this year's celebration bigger and better and so we ensured there were activities that appealed to everyone. We wanted to connect with persons in a fun and relatable way so they could better understand that road, traffic and driver safety is important and can be made fun," said event organiser Alphonso Grennell.

Title sponsor Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation, which promoted the Drink Right campaign at its booth, also focused on behavioural change.

"We want you to open your mind and not just hear the statistics, but to make a commitment to change your behaviour," said Dianne Ashton-Smith, Red Stripe's head of corporate affairs.

"That means speaking up when you're sitting in a taxi and the driver is overtaking like a madman. It means not walking on the street with your earphones on, completely oblivious to the dangers on the road."

The D&G Foundation was joined by a number of other stakeholders and sponsors, including the National Road Safety Council, Rubis and Malta, who provided interesting displays, while the Jamaica Fire Brigade gave a demonstration of an emergency response.