New Acting Managing Director at the Transport Authority (TA), Willard Hylton, is on a mission to improve the Authority and the services it provides.
Mr. Hylton, who has just completed his first month in his new position at the TA, tells JIS News that he has taken the approach of obtaining feedback from stakeholders, especially the staff, at this time.
“The information that we gather is going to be helpful in determining the way we lead the TA,” he says.
Mr. Hylton points out that the Authority has 16 locations across the island and that he and his management team have been to all locations on a fact-finding mission and to listen to the concerns of the staff.
“The management team is quite clear about some of the things that we need to do to make the staff happy and more productive at work,” he explains.
“We have to look after ourselves to be able to deliver what the public is expecting,” he adds.
The Acting Managing Director admits that some of the facilities are in need of improvements to make them more comfortable for staff, and has committed to ensuring that this is done.
According to Mr. Hylton, there are also outstanding internal staff concerns that will be attended to as well.
He said that it is important that the concerns of the staff are addressed, “so we have a clear understanding about the things that we need to do to make the staff happy at work, and we believe that if the staff is happy, it transcends itself right through, not just where we are but to the entire country”.
Mr. Hylton says he has also been taking the time to meet with other stakeholders, such as the route taxi associations, to determine how to support their activities.
He tells JIS News it is important for them to understand that their operation is not just about money and fare increases but rather what can be done to make the business that they are operating more viable.
The Acting Managing Director adds that he will also be focusing on communicating with the public, so that they can understand their role in changing how public transportation systems operate in Jamaica.
Mr. Hylton brings more than 30 years of experience in Sales and Marketing to the position. He taught for a number of years at the community level, through the HEART/National Service Training Agency Trust.
He is a former Regional Manager and a former General Manager in Human Resources at the Authority.
“I bring all of what I have learned and garnered over the years to see how best we can move the TA to the next level. I think the public expects that we are not going to be just an average entity in government. The public, which is more aware and conscious of how things should be, is demanding more,” he says.
Mr. Hylton notes that the TA is on the cutting edge and comparable with any other transportation system worldwide, and he is determined that the entity will be in a position to be compared that way and will remain viable.
“We earn our own money, so in everything that we do, although making money is not the primary thing, we have to ensure that we are able to carry on our activities,” he says.
“I am big on the staff. Everything starts there. I see a TA where our staff turnover will become the lowest when you compare with other entities in government. We want to model entities in Jamaica where staff satisfaction is high, which results in low staff turnover,” he tells JIS News.
Mr. Hylton says he sees a public transportation system where the players in the industry will understand that this is not just a means to ‘eat a food’.
“It is a business that we are delivering and we must be able to provide the highest standard of public transportation,” he says. He points out that there is a lot of work to be done, noting that the barriers to entry to the sector are low and that the Authority has to help those persons to grow.
“I don’t think we have been focusing there a lot, because we spend much of our time trying to deal with the TA’s many moving parts, and that limits the time that we have to help the people in the sector. I do believe we have a role to play in making sure that they can understand what they are doing,” Mr. Hylton says.
To that end, the Acting Managing Director started an initiative in November 2020, doing orientation sessions with new licencees to understand their role and how they should be utilising that licence in the context of a business.
He emphasises that the TA will be working to ensure that there is a general quality standard for the operators in the sector, so that it is replicated across the country where end users can expect a particular standard of service.