Corporate Area Coaster bus operators on strike
Coaster bus operators have this morning withdrawn their services in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR) to protest the decision of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) to reduce sub-franchise routes.
The decision was taken following a meeting last night of the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO).
As of April 1 next year, the JUTC will no longer automatically renew the licenses of current holders.
In anticipation of the changes, the JUTC says it will open a bid invitation in January to provide transportation services for those routes that are to remain on the franchise system.
However, JATOO, the Rural and Urban Transport Association, and several leading bus operators have rejected the move.
They claim that the new conditions by the JUTC represent a forced business closure of all of the 387 operators in the system.
They say such a closure will put approximately 1,600 directly employed and 1,000 indirect and related services person out of a job.
The groups are calling for the intervention of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
They say without her intervention, normalcy within the transportation sector of the Kingston Metropolitan Region cannot be guaranteed for the Christmas season and beyond.
WATCH ... ON THE RECORD: JUTC near stability