JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A special transit police team will be set up within weeks to help enforce regulations in the JUTC's newly reformed sub-franchise system.
  • The team will consist of officers from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Transport Authority and the JUTC.
  • The aim is to restore order to the transport sector and to weed out illegal operators.

A special transit police team will be set up within weeks to help enforce regulations in the transportation sector, as the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) rolls out its newly reformed sub-franchise system.

The team will consist of officers from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), who will assist the Transport Authority and the JUTC in enforcing policies governing the sector.

This was disclosed by Head of the Franchise Revenue Protection Department at the JUTC, Radcliffe Lewis, at a press briefing at the company’s Twickenham Park offices on Tuesday, April 1.

Mr. Lewis, who is former Head of the Police Traffic Department, said the decision comes, following a meeting between the JUTC and Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington.

“We (the JUTC) are going to depend on them to assist us with our policing, along with the transport authority,” he said.

Mr. Lewis said the aim is to restore order to the transport sector and to weed out illegal operators.

Additionally, persons found travelling in unregulated public passenger vehicles, will be penalised under the Road Traffic Act.

“Section 46F of the Road Traffic Act stipulates that if a person knowingly travelling on a vehicle not registered or licensed as a public passenger vehicle pays any fare or do anything to compensate the driver for the ride you shall have committed an offence,” former Superintendent Lewis stated.

Under the law, persons can be fined $100,000 or face up to six months in prison.

Furthermore, according to the public transportation enforcement plan, conductors on buses operated by sub-franchise licensees will be required to issue tickets to all passengers.

Mr. Lewis said conductors who fail to issue a ticket, can be charged with obtaining money by false pretence. Persons found on public passenger vehicles without a ticket can also be charged.

“What we are going to do is to check all buses and once a person is found on the bus without a ticket that person is going to be arrested for travelling on a public passenger vehicle without a ticket,” he warned.

Also under the regulations, franchise operators will no longer be able to travel on shortcuts. The JUTC has warned that vehicles involved in this breach will be impounded. Repeat offenders who take short cuts through residential areas will be brought before the court, and their vehicles ceased.

The rules also stipulate that rural buses will no longer be able to pick up passengers along the route. They must drive directly to their destination for drop off.

There is also a zero-tolerance approach to overcrowding on franchise buses, as no standing will be allowed on 29-seater units.

Meanwhile, the JUTC says franchise operators can take their acceptance letters to Edgechem Jamaica Limited, and access discounts on paint to make their vehicles compliant with the new yellow colour coding system. It is however, illegal for unregulated vehicles to be thus colour-coded in this manner.

Mr. Lewis noted however that a public education campaign will be rolled out, to inform and sensitise franchisees and the travelling public, before the new regulations are enforced.

April 1 marked the start of new regulations governing the public transportation system, but franchisees have until April 8 to regularise their buses. This includes colour-coding, and making payments only on the routes for which they were approved.