Fri | Jul 23, 2021

Transport operators push for own bank, insurance company

Published:Thursday | July 22, 2021 | 12:12 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer

Operators in the public-transport sector are seeking to form a credit union and also to establish an insurance company that will directly address the needs of members.

These were among several suggestions that came out of a report submitted to the Ministry of Transport and Mining during a transport stakeholders conference organised by the Transport Authority at the Sandals Ocho Rios hotel in St Ann yesterday.

The conference attracted 130 stakeholders in the transport sector, with another 350 tuning in live on Facebook.

Held under the theme “Changing the Mindset, Finding the Solution,” the conference sought to explore several proposals by attendees who were divided into three groups.

The suggestions, which covered short-, medium-, and long-term goals, were varied and while most sought increased benefits for taxi operators, there were also suggestions that would see operators giving back.

Other recommendations include taxi operators to benefit from reduction in fuel cost; increasing the liability of PPV coverage currently offered by insurance companies from $2 million; reducing processing time for accident claims; implementing an electronic ticketing system; upgrading transport centres and their facilities; proper monitoring of routes to enable a timetable-like operation for taxis; training of persons in the sector so as to improve service delivery; implementing a recognition and reward system; greater collaboration between taxi operators and the Transport Authority; implementing a robust flexi-work policy for operators; giving transport associations the authority to regulate members; and diversifying the modes of transportation being offered in Jamaica.

Addressing the issue of diversification, Transport Minister Robert Montague reminded transport operators that a train service for students, between Old Harbour and Spanish Town, is scheduled to come on stream in September, and a ferry service is to be introduced, first for entertainment purposes, between Kingston and Port Royal.

“We are reviving the rail. Come September, we’re going to be running a school rail service from Old Harbour to Spanish Town and Linstead to Spanish Town,” the minister said.

He added: “We’re going to be running a line from Three Miles to downtown ... mainly on weekends as an attraction. We are (also) discussing with a boat operator to deal with a ferry service, not as a passenger service at first, but for entertainment.”

Montague also reiterated that drivers with outstanding tickets would soon not be allowed into the system.

“At the next meeting of the Traffic Authority, I am told that no driver will get a badge if you have outstanding tickets,” Montague said.