Cut licence fee or give us a fare increase, says JATOO
Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter
The Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO) wants a fare increase for public passenger operators if the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) goes ahead with its fee for sub-franchise licences.
As part of an exercise to reclaim some of its routes in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region, the JUTC last month approved 319 licences for operators.
JATOO had complained about the number of available licences, which saw the transport minister making available an additional 29.
However, JATOO President Louis Barton says they are being charged $756,000 to obtain these licences.
Barton says this is a drastic increase from the $280,000 which operators were charged in the previous contract period.
He laments that this level of increase is unwarranted and unworkable.
Barton points out that operators continue to grapple with issues such as the cost of fuel and the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, which he says is contributing to high operational expenses.
He says given these challenges, operators want to see a cut in the licensing fee.
The JATOO president says if there is no reversal of the cost of the sub-franchise fee then the government must consider approving a fare increase to help transport operators offset operational costs.
Meanwhile, he says the lobby group also wants the JUTC to rescind its exclusive use of a portion of the Mandela Highway and for the Transport Authority to step up its drive to rid the sector of illegal operators.
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