Empty transport centre but chaos on Hopewell streets
Residents in Hopewell, Hanover, want the authorities to act swiftly to address the severe traffic congestion in the township. At the same time, the residents are peeved that the transport centre remains empty with paid fee collectors having nothing to do.
Addressing the situation at a recent meeting of the Orchard Housing Scheme Citizens’ Association, residents complained that during peak hours, the travel time through Hopewell, which should be no more than two minutes, sometimes climbs to in excess of 10 minutes owing to the congestion caused by unruly motorists.
“The congestion is primarily caused by PPV (public passenger vehicle operators and other illegal taxis operators, who are using the town square as a drop-off and pick-up point for passengers,” a resident told representatives of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) who were in attendance at the meeting.
“If the transport centre was being used, we would not be having that problem. And to compound the problem, the HMC has a staff of fee collectors who are stationed at the transport centre five days of the week seemingly doing nothing but are still being paid,” added the resident.
Subsequent to the meeting, The Gleaner sought an explanation from Devon Brown, the councillor for the Hopewell division, as to why the facility was not being used while the town experienced gridlock.
“It is an enforcement issue. The use of the transport centre is gazetted; it is on the road licences of the PPV operators in the area,” explained Brown. “We have held meetings with the Transport Authority, the police, the taxi association, and other stakeholders to look at the issue of compliance, but the situation has not changed.”
While not seeking to make excuses for the PPV operators, Brown said that they have basically abandoned the transport centre to compete with the illegal taxi operators who are operating with impunity in the town centre.
“It is the lack of control of the illegal taxi operators why the legal taxi operators are not using the transport centre,” noted Brown. “The police need to remove the illegal taxi operators from the streets as a first step to restore order.”