Public buses can use highway
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Reference is made to a letter published in the People's Report of The Gleaner on Saturday, August 23, 2014 titled 'Public buses barred from Highway 2000'. The article refers to Section 14(5) of the Road Traffic Act and indicates that the public passenger vehicles are barred from using Highway 2000. Additionally, the article states that the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses that use the highway do not receive similar treatment.
The Transport Authority advises that there are no laws prohibiting public passenger vehicles from using the highways, and in particular, Highway 2000. Public passenger vehicles must, however, comply with the terms and conditions of their road licences, including routing, and 'via points' that appear on the road licences.
This applies especially to the rural stage-carriage operators who have detailed route descriptions on their road licences. A rural stage carriage, for this purpose, is defined as a vehicle used for carrying passengers for hire or reward, at separate fares for each passenger, and which travels stage by stage along a designated route, by stopping to pick up or set down passengers at designated stops along the route.
If a rural stage-carriage operator is prosecuted for use of any highway/toll road, it means that the highway/toll road is not on the route description of that particular road licence. An operator who desires to traverse the highway/toll road may opt to change the 'via points' (through roads) on the road licence by making an application to the Transport Authority.
It should be noted that there are a number of public passenger vehicles currently licensed to traverse Highway 2,000. It is typical that some operators do not make the necessary application for the amendment to the road licences and, others use the highway at will. The foregoing could cause unnecessary inconvenience to the commuter who wishes to go to Old Harbour, for example. Additionally, the foregoing practices constitute breaches of the terms and conditions of the road licences.
Manager, Communication and Customer Services