Transport Minister urged to meet with taxi operators regarding new Road Traffic Bill

Mikael Phillips, commuters and Keith Blake, Acting General Manager at the Half Way Tree Transport Centre
Opposition Spokesman on Transport Mikael Phillips is calling for Transport Minister Robert Montague to meet with taxi operators to discuss their concerns about provisions in the proposed Road Traffic Bill. 
He made the call following a protest by the operators in the Corporate Area on Monday which left scores of commuters stranded. 
The taxi operators are upset about a provision in the bill which will make them liable for offences committed by the drivers of their vehicles.
Mr. Phillips said the Opposition had warned that public education was needed regarding the bill. 
"We shouldn't wait until the Act comes into law then to start rolling out that programme. So we're calling on the minister himself to at least address the issues and the concerns that the sector itself has and also to at least give some indication of what the future of the transport sector is," he urged. 
Mr. Phillips said some of the concerns of the transport operators appear to stem from a misunderstanding of the changes to the road traffic laws. 
"The amendments that came to the (House of Representatives) had to do with the electronic surveillance and that the owner of the vehicle would be ticketed at that point in time and not the driver because the surveillance is not be able to detect the face of the driver," he noted, adding that it would be useful if the minister meets with the operators to clarify exactly what the law says.  
In the meantime, the taxi operators have vowed to stay off the job if the authorities do not remove the provision in the Road Traffic Bill. 
Monday's protest left commuters stranded and forced others to seek alternative means of transportation. 
Keith Blake, Acting General Manager at the Half Way Tree Transport Centre, said the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has provided additional buses for the affected routes.

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