‘Like a river course’
Cabbies complain rough roads in Clarendon NW eroding their income
Taxi operators and residents in sections of Clarendon North western are bemoaning the deplorable state of the roads, calling for urgent action to address the unbearable situation.
Roy Walters, who plies the May Pen to Blackwoods route, told The Gleaner that the situation has been affecting him greatly with costly repairs and maintenance fees for his vehicle eating into his already meagre income.
“The road is bumpy – a lot of potholes. When you should get a little earning from the vehicle, you have to visit the car mart to get different, different parts, so it really affects us as taxi drivers,” he said.
Walters, who has been operating on the route for roughly five months, said the problems become even more grave when it rains and the roads are blocked with boulders and debris as the area is also prone to landslides.
“The five months that I’ve been out here, it has been very rough, especially when you have a lot of floods and the [embankment] come down in the road and people have to use different routes to get to their destinations,” said Walters.
Another cabbie who plies the May Pen to Smithville route, Dwain Anderson, is experiencing a similar predicament.
“It really affects my income because, for example, if you make $15,000 for the week, by weekend, you have fi buy parts. Mi really would a like fi see the road fix up decent. Mi would a save likkle bit more,” he said. “The road really bad. Really, really bad. ... Right now, di whole a mi front end mash up.”
Smithville resident Nicole Grant said that the rugged roads were a hindrance to productivity.
“It takes more time from May Pen to come up here. Due to the potholes, all one hour before mi reach May Pen, so that slow down certain people,” Grant told The Gleaner.
“From Smithville to Frankfield, mi would call it a river course, and a long time mi nuh see them do anything to the road. Just likkle patching from Wakefield come up, which we appreciate, still,” said Steven Golding, who also lives in Smithville.
One resident seen by our news team in Effort disclosed that she had been waiting for a taxi for more than half an hour, largely due to the slow pace at which vehicles have to travel along the shabby roads.
It was a similar tale of frustration for an elderly man who gave his name as Mr Pusey in the neighbouring Nine Turns community.
Waiting for more than a hour for a taxi, he said that the roads in Effort, Nine Turns and Frankfield were among the worst in the region.
Last Saturday, The Gleaner saw Collin Henry, councillor for the Thompson Town division in the Clarendon Municipal Corporation, overseeing repair work being carried out along the Gloster main road. A breakaway along the thoroughfare has affected commute to several communities, including Victoria, Sunbury and Spaldings.
“This was basically the only route leading to those communities, so we had to divert the traffic to another road leading to Victoria,” Henry explained.
Citing geographical factors, the councillor admitted that the road were in a grave state, but said that he was committed to doing all he could to facilitate upgrades.
“The whole stretch from Thompson Town to Frankfield is just prone to landslides. Whenever we have rains, we can always be on the alert, so myself and the member of parliament (MP) always keep close dialogue. We have also put equipment on standby through the municipal corporation and NWA (National Works Agency),” he said.
Desmond Doyley of Thompson Town is eagerly awaiting the completion of the Gloster roadworks as the breakaway had disrupted his regular visits to see relatives.
“Even down Church Corner we have another breakaway – just a little piece [of road is] left, so the vehicles have to drive to the corner. I don’t know how long it will take for them to come and fix it for us because it is very dangerous,” Doyley said, pointing to another section of concern.
Clarendon North Western MP Phillip Henriques told The Gleaner that plans were under way to address the poor roads.