As of next month, a slew of measures will be effected in the public transport sector to restore public order, particularly surrounding illicit activities involving minors on Public Passenger Vehicles (PPVs).
The initiative is being spearheaded by the National Transformation Programme (NTP) and evolved out of dialogue among the Ministry of Transport and Works, the Transport Authority, the police, and the various public transport bodies.
The measures include the removal of all non-factory tints from PPVs, except for categories of vehicle stated in the law.
“Full compliance will be ensured by the police island-wide because we must break the back of this problem as we move to restore our society and the public transport sector to order,” said National Director of the NTP, Rev. Al Miller at a press conference held today (Oct. 26) at Jamaica House in Kingston.
Also, music will not be allowed on PPVs, and all relevant audio and video devices will be removed. “Drivers and conductors must wear their uniforms and display visibly to passengers, their identification badges,” Rev. Miller further outlined.
In addition, he noted, discipline on the roadways will be vigourously enforced, with ways being examined to increase policing and to implement stringent penalties for road violations, including exceeding the speed limit.
National Director of the National Transformation Programme, Rev. Al Miller (right), speaks with President of the Jamaica Association of Taxi Owners and Operators (JATOO), Mr. Louis Barton, before the start of a press conference at Jamaica House in Kingston, today (October 26). Rev. Miller announced several measures aimed at restoring order to the public transport sector.
He said that the number of road fatalities was increasing and “we are really calling for greater care, a greater sense of responsibility by the drivers of public transportation, recognising that the lives of citizens have been entrusted to them. We are asking and calling for a commitment to that.”
The long-standing issue of overloading will also be tackled. “I was noticing in the papers (recently) that out of a taxi that’s licensed to carry five, they were picking up about 10 to 12 persons. It certainly is something that cannot be continued,” he lamented.
Rev. Miller implored all citizens to play their part by behaving in an orderly manner, and by not supporting the indisciplined behaviour on the roads. “We are asking that you take responsibility to act right, to do what is right. An effective transportation system is all of our business, particularly those who use public transport. We are encouraging volunteers to assist the process to maintain discipline and order in this sector, so do contact us if you have ideas, as to how you can serve. The police need help, (and) the transport folks need help,” he said.
He also urged citizens to report violations or criminal activities to the police, the Transport Authority, and to provide as much information as is known. He said dialogue will continue with the sector to work through other related issues, and to improve the quality of public transport service that’s available to citizens.
Rev. Miller stressed the troubling nature of the lewd and illicit activities that take place on many passenger vehicles, which have led to these measures being instituted. “There have been verified reports of minors and adults, who have engaged in sexual activities, consuming alcoholic beverages, and listening to lewd music and viewing pornographic material on some of our buses with dark tints, across our city and in other parishes. This is unacceptable behaviour. We do recognise that the problem is beyond the transport sector. It’s a problem that we have to address in the home, in our education system,” he stated.
Meanwhile, heads of a number of public passenger transport bodies that were represented at the press conference, expressed their support for the new measures. However, they highlighted some concerns, such as the level of tinting that would be approved.
The operators also pointed to the need for a distinction to be made between an amplified sound system, and a regular AM/FM radio with which all vehicles are fitted.
National Director of the National Transformation Programme, Rev. Al Miller (left), in conversation with General Manager of the Transport Authority of Jamaica, Mr. Cecil Morgan (right) and Managing Director of the Transport Authority, Mr. Daniel Dawes, at a press conference, held at Jamaica House in Kingston, today (October 26). Rev. Miller announced several measures aimed at restoring order to the public transport sector.
They all however agreed on the removal of the very dark tints, and the banning of video and enhanced audio equipment. The endorsements came from Lunville Watt of the Rural Urban Transport Association; Manager of the National Transport Co-operative Society, Gary Byfield; and President of Jamaica Association of Taxi Owners and Operators (JATOO), Louis Barton.
General Manager of Operations at the Transport Authority, Cecil Morgan spoke to the issue of the grade of tints that would be allowed. He informed that the Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, had given his undertaking to address the matter of tinting, and what was acceptable.
“Currently there is no specific grade tint that has been approved by the Transport Authority as regulators…the law is clear…It says that the owner, driver or operator of a vehicle should not install, or cause to be installed curtains or screens or anything that is going to prevent an inward view of that vehicle, so we just have to abide by what the law says,” he explained.
“We are saying prevention is better than cure, and we have to find ways and means of ensuring that we can address some of these matters in relation to the things that take place behind those tints,” he emphasised.
The General Manager appealed to owners, drivers, and conductors, to work with the authorities, to provide a safe and reliable transport system for children, and all persons, who travel by public transportation.