TODSS boss cites tense relationship with Gov’t

MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS) Egeton Newman has taken successive governments to task for infrastructural shortcomings that he says are h
urting the public transportation sector.

He zeroed in on the inadequacy of areas to pick up and drop off passengers in major towns around the country.

“One of the things we have in the major towns in Jamaica is bad mind [tension] between the Government and taxi men. I can’t put it any nicer, you know, because everywhere you go — in Kingston, in Montego Bay, in Mandeville and many town centres — there are many yellow lines so you can’t pick up passengers and set down passengers.”

He was responding to a complaint from one of his members during a TODSS-hosted expo in St James last Thursday. The complaint centred on the general lack of pavements and road markings, and the impact on providers of public transportation.

“You are a route taxi. You are supposed to be able to set down and pick up anywhere convenient, once you are not blocking the road,” argued Newman.

He maintained that there are yellow [no parking] lines “even in the parks” used by public passenger vehicles.

The spokesman for transport operators told the Jamaica Observer that he has brought the issue of insufficient stopping and parking facilities for taxi operators to the new Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport Daryl Vaz, who promised to look into the matter even though he did not speak specifically to the issue of yellow lines.

Meanwhile, Newman had high praise for what he described as the orderly behaviour, during his visit to the expo, of the taxi men and women who utilise the transportation centre in St James.

“The taxi men in Montego Bay are looking good. They have their uniforms, they are properly parked and are loading, but they are concerned that they have to be waiting for hours in the park to get a load. Things are not turning around for them,” he noted.

According to Newman, transport operators in the western city complain that while they abide by the rules, others undermine their efforts.

“These guys are saying that they are not getting the passengers because they [passengers] are on the main thoroughfare and are being picked up by illegal taxi operators. Some are legal operators but do not want to use the park, and that is wrong. I think the responsibility is on the Transport Authority and the police to ensure that the operators use the parking facility because the good are suffering for the bad,” he urged.

Thursday’s TODSS expo, held in the Montego Bay Transportation Centre in St James at a cost of $1.2 million, was the fourth in a series of islandwide events focused on the health, wellness and safety of its members.

Participants included the Transport Authority, the Road Safety Unit, the National Council on Drug Abuse, along with representatives from the insurance sector and a dental team.

TODSS will spend $27 million to host expos across the island.