Corporate Communications Manager at the Transport Authority (TA), Petra-Kene Williams, says the agency has been reaching out to many of the commercial services stakeholders to encourage them to come in and become compliant.
“In addition to that, we have our operations teams going out to the main townships and doing road collections, so we are no longer depending on the persons to come to us, but we are reaching out to them with the services. They do it at their convenience, and that is where we are going in terms of our direction for the months to come,” she told JIS News in an interview.
Approximately 18,000 commercial vehicles have not renewed their licences for the current licensing period.
Ms. Williams pointed out that the Authority is also looking at increasing services to that particular cohort of customers, while also looking at compliance.
“In 2020, many persons did not renew their licences and many did not apply, so we are focusing on reaching those persons,” she said.
“Compliance is of importance to us at the Authority, and because we recognise that it is low, we have deployed our compliance teams regionally to reach persons in the sector,” she added.
For his part, Senior Legal Officer at the TA, Ewan Simpson, explained that at the moment, the extent of the regulation for commercial carriers is limited to the issuance of licences.
“However, we are in the final stages of the review of the legislation which will allow the TA to actually monitor and prosecute,” he said.
He pointed out that this is currently the purview of the police, but when the changes are made, “we will be able to do a more fulsome regulatory job where commercial carriers are concerned”.
The Senior Legal Officer said given that the TA is responsible for the issuance of licences, “life should be much easier and simpler when the legislation is amended, because it would also allow us to issue the licences in more efficient ways”.
Mr. Simpson pointed out that the commercial carriers account for the larger portion of licences issued by the TA.
“We are not able to provide them with a lot of the softer services that we could, because the other side of it is not ours, so we want to be able to serve all our licencees equally and to give them all the opportunities,” he said.
The Senior Legal Officer said that as the Authority continues to look at how services to the commercial carriers can be bolstered and diversified for ease of processing, he is encouraging more persons to use the online licensing application system.
He said the Authority is also looking at ensuring that the legislation is clear, based on current concerns about what qualifies as a commercial carrier.
“We are looking at scenarios such as whether or not someone carrying their musical instruments to go to play at an event is using their vehicle as a commercial carrier. These are some of the things that we are seeking to clarify, because we hear the complaints and we are looking to address these matters through the Transport Authority Bill that is coming,” he added.