CHRISTIANA, Manchester — Within the next three months work is to begin on the expansion of a taxi park here to accommodate 500 public passenger vehicles in a multi-level facility, following months of complaints and protests by operators.
Minister of Transport Audley Shaw made the announcement during a tour of the facility on Friday.
“A part of the land is already owned by the municipal corporation so we don’t have to buy land, except for another piece which we might have to buy and that is owned by a private company,” he said.
Shaw, who is also Member of Parliament for Manchester North Eastern, said the municipal corporation owns approximately half an acre of land, while the adjoining private property is about an acre.
Managing director at the Transport Authority Ralston Smith said there was leniency on taxi operators, given the inadequate parking in the town.
“We want to be in a position to accommodate at least 500 taxis in this particular space… Enforcement cannot be carried out in a vacuum. So far, there is inadequate infrastructure to accommodate the operators. The police have allowed the operators to use a certain side of the roadway to park. What we want to do is to ensure that we create the space for the operators to park comfortably in a transport centre and for the commuters to have a bathroom facility to use,” Smith said.
Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell said the Manchester Municipal Corporation will be working “post-haste” to get the infrastructural design ready for the multi-level facility, which he expects is to be ready by year end.
“… For the taxi park, we are trying to do ground level and go up so that we can accommodate as many cars as possible,” said Mitchell.
“We are trying now to catch up now with what is happening, so once we are able to move some of the taxi men off the road we will be able to follow through with a one-way [system] and giving up some space along the roadway for the private parking and all of that …” Mitchell added.
Asked about the long-term plan for the development of Christiana and removing eyesores close to the Christiana Bypass, Mitchell said the municipal authority will need assistance.
“In terms of the shacks, we have a team of municipal police who goes around and looks at the situation, but again, all of this happens with teamwork, because some of these persons have been there for years prior to [the bypass], so we have to look at how is it that we can find that housing accommodation — that land space — to move some of those persons,” said Mitchell.
“We do have some lands on Lyn’s Avenue that we are trying to work out something with persons who [are] squatting,” Mitchell added.