THE POLICE Traffic Division is declaring war on illegal transport operators plying some of the more lucrative routes for the state-owned bus company, the Jamaica Urban Transport Company (JUTC).
Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis, who heads the division, said the men and women under his command will begin a crackdown on the illegal operators starting today.
The police operation, Lewis said, will involve the removal of illegal operators from several routes and the enforcement of a provision in the licence agreement that bars rural operators from picking up passengers in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR).
The offensive comes at the same time the JUTC announced plans to increase the number of buses plying the KMTR from a daily average of 244 to 360.
"My duty is to protect all PPV (public passenger vehicles) from illegal activity on the roadways and to protect them from robots," Lewis explained.
"If the JUTC is benefiting from it then I am more than happy about that because they are on the back of the government," he added.
Colin Campbell, the managing director of the JUTC, welcomed the crackdown, telling The Gleaner yesterday that the company expects to roll out approximately 360 buses today.
"Seats should not be a problem (today)," Campbell insisted.
"I don't need any assistance from any illegal people. The JUTC has more than enough seats for the KMTR," he added.
In the meantime, the top-traffic cop said buses travelling from rural parishes will not be allowed to pick up passengers once they enter the KMTR as is outlined their licence agreement.
Lewis said buses coming from St Thomas and other eastern parishes are barred from picking up passengers at Harbour View, in St Andrew, while those coming from St Catherine and adjacent parishes should cease pick-ups at Ferry, in the parish.
"(Rural) operators who pick-up passengers in the KMTR will be prosecuted and their vehicles seized," he warned.
The routes that will be targeted by the police and the Transport Authority today:
32 - Cooreville Gardens, via Duhaney Park to Half-Way Tree.
900 - Papine to Half-Way Tree.
83 - Half-Way Tree via Mountain View Avenue to downtown Kingston.
99 - Harbour View via Rockfort to downtown Kingston.
46 - Meadowbrook to Half-Way Tree