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JATOO, transport ministry officials to meet today

Published:Tuesday | December 10, 2013 | 10:44 AM

Representatives of the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO) are to meet with officials of the transport ministry and the Transport Authority today to discuss changes coming to the sector.



For two days last week Coaster and minibus operators across the Corporate Area and sections of St Catherine withdrew their service to protest plans by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) to reduce sub-franchise routes.



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 and several leading transport groups have rejected the move.

JATOO President Louis Barton says the lobby group is expecting a compromise will be offered at today’s meeting.



He stresses that bus operators have invested heavily in their businesses over the years and it is unfair for them to now be put out of a job.



JATOO claims the new conditions by the JUTC represent a forced business closure of all of the 387 operators in the system.



It says such a closure will put approximately 1,600 directly employed persons out of a job while another 1,000 who are indirectly employed will also be affected.



However, the JUTC has insisted that it will be pressing ahead with the plans.



It notes that come next year it will be substantially increasing its fleet and as such it would not need to issue as many sub-franchise licences.



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