Saturday 21 July, 2018

Plans to change termination point for rural bus operators on hold -TA

TA postpone route change plans for rural bus operators who terminate downtown

TA postpone route change plans for rural bus operators who terminate downtown

The Transport Authority (TA) has taken a u-turn on plans to change the termination point for a number of rural stage carriage operators, from the Darling Street bus park to the nearby Downtown Municipal Transport Centre on Water Lane.

In a statement on Friday, the TA advised that the planned move has been postponed “indefinitely”.

The authority said the latest decision was reached after consultation with the respective stakeholders.

The initially proposed change in termination point would have involved bus operators from the parishes of Manchester, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, and St Catherine.

With the latest decision, licences that were recently recalled and amended to reflect the planned change, will again be recalled to facilitate the necessary amendments and reprinting by the authority, the TA statement outlined.

The latest move by the TA came about three weeks after bus drivers withdrew their services because of the proposed change, leaving large number of commuters stranded.

The drivers claimed that the TA’s decision was in support of the publicly-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus service, which they said does not want to operate from the municipal centre.

The protesting bus drivers also cited issues with loader men from the Darling Street terminus, who had reportedly issued threats for the bus operators not to go to the Water Lane centre.

The switch to the Water Lane centre would effectively eliminate the input of the loader men in respect of the buses that were to be directed to the new terminal point, as the informal loading of buses for reward is not accommodated at the Water Lane centre.

At the outset, Managing Director of the Transport Authority, Cecil Morgan, indicated an August 2 deadline for the change to Water Lane as part of efforts to reduce congestion in the overcrowded Darling Street bus park. The deadline was later revised to August 19.

However, on Friday, the TA simply said amid the indefinite postponement of the initial plan, it is committed to continue dialogue with the stakeholders to ensure an orderly and disciplined transport sector.