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The Transport Authority, as part of efforts to stamp out lewdness and profanity on public passenger vehicles, has instituted a behaviour change training programme, targeted at students.
Speaking at the JIS Think Tank on Wednesday (July 13), Joan Fletcher, Managing Director of the Transport Authority, observed that some of the activities that take place on the buses were just “a reflection of some of the things taking place in the wider society.” To this end, the Authority has decided to do its part “to create some change nationally” by engaging students and young people in behavioural change training.
“We have conducted various programmes where we actually teach students within the school, train them to be peer counsellors, so they will now address the issues by counselling their peers, who might engage in deviant behaviours or have an unhealthy lifestyle. We are hoping not just to deal with operators, but to create change through the schools, so we have been working on that programme,” Mrs. Fletcher outlined.
This strategy, in tandem with recent changes to the Road Traffic Act, to among other things, make illegal, the playing of music in buses, is expected to lead to an overall improvement in the public transportation sector. The amendment stipulates that, “the operator should not install or cause to be installed, musical equipment in the vehicles, neither audio nor visual.”
This decision, though seemingly draconian, became necessary because motor vehicle operators tended to “take a yard when given an inch by the Transport Authority”, Mrs. Fletcher commented.
“Over the years, we have battled with it, saying listen, ‘don’t turn up the music’, but it has gotten out of hand, to the point where we now believe that the only thing that can be done and should be done, is to say, no equipment in the vehicle at all,” she explained.
Continuing, the Managing Director noted that this amendment was in keeping with international standards, where music is not usually allowed on public passenger vehicles. There are certain exemptions however, for contract carriage vehicles, or those used in the tourism sector, which are allowed to have musical equipment on their vehicles.
The amendments to the Road Traffic and Transport Authority Acts came into effect last month (June 2005) and the Transport Authority Inspectors along with the Jamaica Constabulary Force are currently on the roads enforcing the law.
The Transport Authority is mandated to monitor and regulate the public transportation sector throughout the island, and deal with the licensing of all public and commercial vehicles.