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Letter of the Day | Fix chaotic public transportation system first

Published:Saturday | February 4, 2023 | 12:09 AM


New York State law requires that all taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers wear seat belt while driving. The State also requires that front seat passengers above the age of 16 wear a seat belt. Passengers with children are encouraged to bring their own car seats, which the drivers must allow passengers to install. Children under the age of seven are permitted to sit on an adult’s lap.

The Jamaica New Road Traffic Act that came in effect on February 1 requires the use of car seats for children, especially in route taxis. The emerging problem is that Jamaican lawmakers create laws in a bubble that sterilises them from the economic reality of those they seek in desperation to protect from dangerous driving conditions.

In this case, no consideration is made in regard to the possibility of passenger increased fares, as car safety seats for children will reduce the number of passengers in a vehicle.

Second, parents will be left stranded with no access to transportation if these route taxis refuse to transport them due to unavailability of these safety seats.

The Government continues to shaft those who provide route taxi services as those who are officially licensed ought to receive, through the local municipality, a subsidy to offset both the weekly increases in petrol and vehicular parts due to poor road conditions. Providers of route transportations are not government owned, but private citizens who should also make a profit.

Finally, straggled with a national poorly organised public mass transportation across the country, our elected representatives and their technocrats continue to contribute to the pauperisation of the nation due to loss productive hours, as commuters waste time waiting on route taxis/minivans and experience physical and psychological abuses due to herding or lack of sleep from getting home late at nights and rising too early to get to work on time.

There is a need to introduce metrorail services, especially in the Portmore, Kingston and St Andrew metropolitan area and other growing communities across Jamaica. Let us transform our public mass transportation to benefit our citizens!


Mandeville, Manchester