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Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, is urging public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators to utilise the Transport Authority’s online services to conduct transactions, as part of continued social distancing measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Speaking at the recent handover of masks donated by Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer, Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Company Limited, through local partner, Stewart’s Automotive Group, at the Ministry in Kingston, Mr. Montague said taxi and bus operators are urged to go online, because the Transport Authority can do general business on the Internet.

“Once you are coming to do business with us and you turn up at the office without an appointment, there is going to be a fee of $10,000 [whereas] if you go online, it is free of cost. We have the portal and the platform. We have been preparing for a day like this, so you don’t have to go into a Transport Authority office to conduct business. We are encouraging Jamaicans to go online,” he said.

The Transport Authority recently instituted mandatory online applications for new and renewal of road licences.

Mr. Montague said the use of fines is being implemented as part of the Government’s social distancing enforcement measures as well as towards the promotion of a digital society.

“We are going to [fine] you if you go into the office without an appointment, but if you have an appointment and we are expecting you, it is not a problem. No money will be charged. We are doing this to encourage social distancing and help with the digitisation of the society.

We have moved to digitise our services at the Transport Authority,” he said.

Another initiative being undertaken by the Ministry is the use of geofencing technology to produce fitness certificates at the Island Traffic Authority. A geofence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographical area.

“At the Island Traffic Authority, we had started machine-printed fitness certificates. This year, we are moving to another stage where when you go for your fitness, if your car is not parked at a certain geofenced location on the depot’s compound, the fitness certificate will not be produced,” the Minister said.

“We are hearing stories that certificates are being issued and the cars are not on the compound. We are using technology to correct the problem and rebuild trust in the society,” Mr. Montague added.

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