JIS News

Government’s plan to improve the transportation system in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR) and reduce traffic congestion, received a boost on Saturday (Jan. 12) with the opening of the Half Way Tree Transport Centre by Prime Minister Hon. Bruce Golding. Mr Golding said the centre was the launching pad for a major programme to transform the public transport system in the Corporate Area and provide commuters with an organized and orderly system which they truly deserve.
The Prime Minister said traffic congestion within Half Way Tree would have to be addressed, as part of the overall plan to improve the operations of the bus service and allow for the free flow of vehicle traffic. He has asked the Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry, to review previous traffic studies undertaken within the corporate area and make recommendations to Cabinet on how best to improve traffic flow in the busy urban centre. Recommendations are also expected for a system that would provide for the inclusion of other transport service providers who, although they will not be accommodated at the new facility, are a critical part of the transportation network in the KMTR.
The Prime Minister said the over 200,000 commuters who will use the transportation centre on a daily basis, will benefit from having a controlled and secured centralized terminal from which Jamaica Urban Transport Company (JUTC) buses will be dispatched. He said this orderly and organized system, will have a significant impact on the public who previously had to contend with many challenges. He urged commuters to display a level of behaviour and conduct that is commensurate with the level of investment that has been provided.
In his remarks at the opening function, Transport Minister, Mike Henry said Marcus Garvey Drive will be upgraded to a six-lane dual carriageway linking them to reduce travel time for passenger vehicle and other vehicular traffic. Surveys are also being carried out at major intersections in the corporate area, to ascertain the need for additional lanes. He said the government was seeking to revamp the railway service as part of plans to integrate road, rail and sea transport.
The Half Way Tree Transportation Centre is a joint venture project between Jamaica and Belgium. The multi-storey facility was built at a cost of J$4.9 Billion, 80 per cent of which is interest free and the remaining 20 per cent at a concessionary rate of 4 per cent. Construction was completed on time and within budget.
The centre has two platform levels that can simultaneously accommodate 60 bus lines or 580 buses per hour. A third commercial level features shopping facilities and a food court. Restroom facilities are also available and adequate provisions have been made to accommodate the physically challenged and visually impaired commuters.
The centre will be operated by the Port Authority of Jamaica.

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