Saturday 4 April, 2020

Bus, taxi strike on across the country

File photo of a usually busy taxi park.

File photo of a usually busy taxi park.

There is a noticeable absence of public transport operators on many routes across the island, Loop News has learned.

Reports from various sources on the ground indicate that at the start of the new school year, many public transport operators have withdrawn their services over the absence of a fare increase, which has long been requested of the authorities.

Edgeton Newman, President of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS), an organisation that says it represents more than a 1,000 taxi and bus operators, said based on information he has received, the strike extends island-wide.

“For the past seven years we have been selling or providing our service for the same price while everything we buy to provide that service goes up at least twice per month or once per week,” said Newman, who argued that the situation had reached a state where taxi and bus operators feel it should not continue.

Newman said through the strike, taxi and bus operators are seeking to send another message to the regulators and policymakers, reminding them “of our involvement in the country’s sustainable development, and that we ought to be heard.”

The JUTC has committed to help reduce the impact of the withdrawal of service by some privately-operated public passenger vehicle operators.

At the same time, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has said it has started to roll out more than 400 buses for the start of the new school year.

The assurance was given by Cecil Thoms, the Communications Manager for the state-owned bus company.

Thoms said the JUTC took note of the possible strike by public transport operators and stood ready to transport commuters who may be left stranded if the privately-operated public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators made good on their threat to withdraw their service as they press their demand for a fare increase.

“… we will play our part to ensure that we move commuters to their destinations safely,” said Thoms.

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