Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles, was honoured Wednesday morning (September 23) by the Transport Authority (TA) for his contribution to the public transport sector.
Mr. Charles, who was Minister of Public Utilities and Transport, 1982-1989, in the previous Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration, was honoured for, among other things, the creation of the Transport Authority in 1987.
The citation to him, read by the TA’s Communication and Customer Services Manager, Petra-Kene Williams, stated that Mr. Charles’ intervention, after the collapse of the Jamaica Omnibus Service (JOS) Company Limited, led to the reorganisation of the public passenger transportation system in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR), and the “legitimisation of the illegal operations through sub-franchising.”
Mr. Charles responded by expressing gratitude to the TA, and commending the Authority for the improvements to the Corporate Area’s public transportation system since “the rough and tough” days of the 1980s.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles, thanking the Transport Authority for honouring him for his contribution to the transport sector in the 1980s at a function at his Ministry on Wednesday (September 23). Beside him is the Managing Director of the Transport Authority, Daniel Dawes.
“There has been great improvement, and I congratulate those who are managing it, but there is more room for improvement and the most important improvement that is needed is to zone the areas and allocate seats in those areas,” he insisted.
“I continue to call for an organised approach to the association between the private and the public sector in the transport system. I believe that there is a place in the system for both public and private sector involvement. I cannot accept that there needs to be a competition between them for passengers in the urban areas where the buses operate, while there are so many sub-urban areas where neither buses nor private transportation are available,” he said.
Mr. Charles suggested that a study be carried out to determine the number of seats needed, and that the areas be zoned and shared between the two entities.
“I would strongly suggest that a look be taken at the amount of seats that are needed, the amount of public and private transportation available, and then zone the areas and allocate the seats,” he explained.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles, having a good laugh with the Transport Authority’s General Manager (Human Resource Development), Zonia Foster Maynard(left), and General Manager (Operations), Cecil Morgan after being honoured by the Authority for his contribution to the development of the transport sector during a function at his Ministry, North Street, Kingston, on Wednesday (September 23).
“We should look at zoning as the first step in the process of creating a proper public transportation system, and I know the present Minister of Transport agrees with me and has been talking about it,” he added.
However, he said that an intrinsic problem was that despite being unhappy with the chaotic private sector system, people continue to use that service to move to work or home faster.
Also attending the function, which was held at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), North Street, Kingston, were: TA Managing Director, Daniel Dawes; board member, Arthur McKenley; General Manager (Operations), Cecil Morgan; General Manager (Human Resource Development), Zonia Foster Maynard; as well as MLSS senior directors – Gresford Smith, Robert Miller and Karl Wedderburn.