Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, is encouraging taxi associations and their members to be more enterprising in their approach to the operation of the industry.
He suggested that members could come together to establish a used-car dealership, an insurance company, and a repair and maintenance hub.
These enterprises he argued, could improve the viability and sustainability of the taxi industry.
“My vision for the industry is to have vertical integration… . Do not look at the business anymore as a hustle. Why is it that you do not have your own gas station, why don’t you have your own driver training school… . These are some of the things I want to see – a big business,” he said.
The Minister was speaking at a meeting hosted by the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS) at the Auto All Car Rental Limited in May Pen, Clarendon, on December 6.
The conference was held under the theme ‘The Future of Public Passenger Transportation in Jamaica’.
Mr. Montague urged taxi operators to make contributions to the National Housing Trust (NHT) and to plan for their retirement by having an approved insurance plan.
He also urged individuals to register for the National Health Fund (NHF) and Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) cards.
Meanwhile, he informed that Cabinet has given approval for the implementation of the vehicle tracking and maintenance system for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), the acquisition of which has entered the government procurement process.
The system will enable JUTC to streamline the operations of its buses to reduce its yearly estimated loss of nearly a billion dollars.
“The system will tell us when the bus is ready for an oil change, mileage, tyre change, it will count the number of people going into the bus, monitor the idling of the engine, tell us where the bus is located and will generally tighten up the management of the JUTC,” he informed.
The Transport and Mining Minister further highlighted plans to upgrade and update the database of the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) and the traffic ticket system, which is being spearheaded by eGov.
For his part, President of TODSS, Edgerton Newman, said the meeting is the first in a series of events being planned to take the message of the transformation of the transport industry across the island.
“We need changes in the sector. If we do not have these changes then we are going to have problems,” he noted.