JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Transport Authority (TA) will be collaborating with local authorities to improve transportation centres across the island.
  • The initiative, which will begin on Labour Day, May 23, will be ongoing and is to start with five councils.
  • The programme is geared towards creating a clean, safe, people-centred public transportation system.

The Transport Authority (TA) will be collaborating with local authorities to improve transportation centres across the island.

The initiative, which will begin on Labour Day, May 23, will be ongoing and is to start with five councils – the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), the Municipality of Portmore, and the Manchester, St. Ann and St. James Parish Councils.

Known as the Transportation Centre Modernisation Programme, the initiative was launched on May 20, at the Hotel Four Seasons in Kingston, where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Transport Authority and representatives of the Councils was signed.

The MoU outlines some of the minimum service level standards in the operation of the centres and covers matters relating to safety and security, staffing, lighting, fencing, accessibility, entrance and exits, seating, signage, route lanes demarcation, as well as public sanitary conveniences.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, said the programme signals the seriousness with which the administration views public transportation, and its commitment to get the facilities to acceptable standards of safety, comfort, cleanliness, order and convenience for the benefit of commuters and operators.

“As we embark on a programme of accelerated economic development in this country, an efficient transportation system is most essential. Order and predictability are critical if we are to engender increased productivity, and we must move away from the relative disorder that has dogged the sector for some time,” Dr. Guy said.

He said more emphasis must be placed on customer care. “We must bring our service to at least minimum standards in relation to the expectations of our clients,” Dr. Guy added.

The Minister informed that a study conducted by the TA in 2012, revealed that there were 228 public passenger terminal facilities in Jamaica, of which only 51 or 22 per cent are formal, while 177 or 78 per cent are informal.

He noted that the study showed that not all formal facilities have the basic requirements needed for the optimal operation of a terminal facility and a number of them are inadequate to accommodate the vehicles licensed to use them.

The Minister said that according to the study, a number of public passenger vehicles operate from unsafe and unsuitable location, and this has severe implications for commuters as well as the regulators and operators.

“The MoU is positive proof that we are committed to reversing this process and it is most appropriate that we bring the voluntary spirit of Labour Day 2014 to bear on this,” he said.

He pointed out that work on the five centres, which will start on Labour Day, is just a prelude to ongoing projects to upgrade transport centres generally, so that they will conform to internationally accepted best practices.

Managing Director, Transport Authority, Donald Foster, said the programme is geared towards creating a clean, safe, people-centred public transportation system.

“We are setting fit and proper criteria and standards to drive the development of the entire transport sector,” Mr. Foster said.

The project will be funded through the budget of the Transport Authority with support from local authorities.

The Managing Director signed the MoU on behalf of the TA, while Deputy Mayor of the KSAC, Andrew Swaby and Acting Mayor of the Portmore Municipal Council, Councillor Leon Thomas, signed on behalf of the Councils.

Minister Guy and Custos of St. Andrew, Hon. Marigold Harding, witnessed the documents.