MONTEGO BAY, St James – Deputy mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Richard Vernon has pointed to the need for a transportation centre that will be able to accommodate the burst of development now taking place in the city.
“Montego Bay needs a modern transportation centre. Not a bus stop, not a taxi stand but a modern transportation centre, something that can facilitate us for the next 50 years,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “With all that is happening with the developments coming on stream, we have to ensure that we match the development with infrastructure so that we can have a sustainable city.”
Among the ongoing high-value projects is a 25-storey development in Reading called The Pinnacle; the largest mall in western Jamaica, Harbour City; and the eight-storey luxury condominium complex, Montego Bay Racquet Club Condominiums and Spa.
Years of calls for the transportation centre to be expanded have got louder with the expected influx of people linked to these and other ongoing projects.
“This traffic coming into Montego Bay, the tourists coming in, the rooms being added, the offices being added, we have to now think about transportation,” urged Vernon in whose Montego Bay South Division the existing transportation centre is located. “We already have a traffic nightmare when we have unprecedented and less than unprecedented situations and we have to ensure that we take these things into consideration.”
He spoke of the foresight needed in planning.
“In the next 50 years from now you can’t be knocking down places to build a transportation centre. You can’t be demolishing spaces because you didn’t [engage in] forward thinking,” he said.
Vernon, a member of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, said existing plans to ease traffic congestion in the resort city are inadequate.
“Yes, the perimeter road is coming but we will need more to manage the traffic coming into and going out of Montego Bay, those south bound and north bound, we’ll need more,” he insisted.
He was referencing the Montego Bay Perimeter Road which the Government has said will result in less congestion within the city and open up new lands to facilitate structured developments.
In calls for the expansion of the city’s transportation centre, the point has been made that there is a need for a facility that can adequately house the increasing number of public passenger operators and provide a more comfortable space for passengers. Last year, during a visit by then Transportation Minister Audley Shaw there was a proposal that lands belonging to the Railway Corporation of Jamaica would be used to extend the facility. There has been no update since then.
“We have to think from now. We have to put the transportation centre in place so that we can have better flow of traffic,” urged Vernon.