JATOO unhappy with passing of Road Traffic Bill

Louis Barton
The Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO) is not happy that the Road Traffic Bill was passed in the Senate on Friday.
JATOO has said it considers it an act of betrayal to the more than 25,000 public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators.
In a statement Monday morning, JATOO President Louis Barton said following a meeting on Sunday, it was decided that the organisation would consult with its lawyers to test the constitutionality of the bill, focusing on the section where motor vehicle owners are financially responsible for drivers' infractions.
This will only be in cases where offences are captured by a video camera.
Mr. Barton has maintained that transport operators must be granted special privilege because they are not privy to certain information on their drivers. 
He argued that the bill proceeds as it is currently is "totally against all business operation" and will increase the cost to operators "which could mean an increase in the transportation cost to passengers."
In opening the debate on the amendments to the Road Traffic Bill in the Senate on Friday, Leader of Government Business Kamina Johnson Smith said the contentious provision will remain and this has been communicated to taxi associations in discussions with Transport Minister Robert Montague and the Transport Authority.
In response, Mr. Barton said that information was not made clear to the taxi operators. 
"We met with the Minister of Transport and he indicated to us that there will be a new Transport Authority Act... I don't know what is in it that will help to reduce the effects on our business," he asserted.    
Mr. Barton contended that the government is on the same trajectory as the previous People's National Party administration in reducing the number of investors in the public transport sector.
"If our protests and our concerns are not taken in top consideration at this level then we will abide by the decision of a future election; the operators will be able to vote whether they will continue as is or they will turn somewhere else or just stay out of the system," he warned.  

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