Students, teachers among Mandeville commuters affected by taxi strike
Several commuters including students and teachers were this morning left stranded in Mandeville, Manchester due to a protest by taxi operators.
They are upset over the new Road Traffic Act which, among other things, contains heftier fines for traffic offences.
The new law came into force last week and since then the police have heightened enforcement operations, which has seen several motorists being ticketed.
Some of the stranded students opted to go back home while others were assisted to school by the parents of their peers or by their educational institutions.
Mile Gully High was among the schools that provided transportation to affected students.
"We are hoping that all who were here this morning would have been able to get on the buses,” said principal Christopher Tyme.
“We will also assist them in the afternoon to get back to Mandeville and whatever support we can give them to get back home we will,” he added.
Tyme said the institution will continue to offer the assistance to prevent students from loitering or being stranded on the streets.
The taxi operators said the protest action will continue until the government addresses their concerns and undertakes a review of the act.
President of the Central Manchester Taxi Association and director of the National Council of Taxi Associations, Shirley Johnson, said while his wish was for taxi operators to postpone their protest action until Transport Minister, Audley Shaw, responds to their concerns, said he understands their position.
"They are the ones feeling the pinch buying the expensive gas. One of the biggest problems they are having now is that if they go to Savanna-la-mar [in Westmoreland] and get a ticket and they live in Mandeville they have to drive all the way back to pay that ticket... why can't the ticket be paid in their parish? "he questioned.
"The police and the Transport Authority are giving taxi operators hell and we are asking for some relief… I am calling for the government to use its common sense... I am calling for [Prime Minister] Andrew Holness personally to have members from the taxi fraternity at the table when decisions are being made. A lot of those persons who sit at the table don't drive taxis…we are willing to give them some good ideas" he said.
- Tamara Bailey
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