Monday 27 January, 2020

Delay for commuters as some bus drivers 'with unpaid fines' stay home

File photo of police officers conducting a spot check with a bus driver.

File photo of police officers conducting a spot check with a bus driver.

Loop News understands that some commuters travelling from areas such as Linstead and Old Harbour in St Catherine into Spanish Town are facing delays because of a noticeable decrease in the number of public passenger vehicles on these routes.

One chef, Junior Douglas, who lives in Old Harbour and works on Half-Way Tree Road in St Andrew, told our news centre at 7:30 Monday morning that he was stuck in traffic on the Mandela Highway. He should have been at work at 6:45 am.

“Is whole heap a people in Old Harbour can’t get bus. The bus man dem say dem fraid to drive out this morning because dem have unpaid traffic tickets,” Douglas said.

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When Loop News contacted a driver on the Linstead route, he confirmed that fewer buses were on the route Monday morning but said he was not sure whether it was related to drivers with unpaid traffic tickets who fear being prosecuted. However, he said it was unusual not to see more buses on the route on a Monday morning.

The extended Traffic Ticket Amnesty which got underway on November 27 last year, ended on Saturday when there was a mad rush on tax offices across the island by motorists trying to beat the deadline.

The first amnesty which netted $590 million for the Government’s coffers ran from August to October last year. It is not yet known how much in total was collected from the second amnesty but up to Saturday morning some $150 million in tickets had been paid.

With a new Road Traffic Act expected to be enacted this year, the Government has warned that motorists who failed to pay outstanding traffic fines will face the full force of the law.

The amnesty covered tickets issued since 2010 and Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has warned that motorists who refuse to pay could find themselves locked up at ‘Red Fence’ at Up Park Camp, the headquarters of the Jamaica Defence Force.

Two additional traffic courts were opened in December at Sabina Park in Kingston to deal with the expected increase in the number of motorists who will be brought before the courts.

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