Mon | Mar 27, 2023

High traffic fines will negatively affect students

Published:Thursday | February 9, 2023 | 12:30 AM


Some route taxis for the parish of Manchester were on strike on Tuesday, February 7, protesting the high fees in the new Road Traffic Act that will be imposed if they drop off students at schools located on non-gazetted roads. For example, students attending DeCarteret College and Belair High School who are travelling from Cross Keys or other southern communities, will have to go straight to Mandeville, then either take another taxi from Mandeville to their school or walk the distance. This will be an increase in cost for struggling parents or will result in students being exposed to the natural elements during their journey to and from school.

Each new academic year, the Ministry of Education and Youth assigns new students to these schools from these communities. In addition, in some instances, elementary, infant and preparatory schools require that an adult accompanies these students to school, which some do en route to work via public transportation. They are often left inconvenienced by an outdated road management structure that forces them to spend more money from a weekly depreciating dollar. It makes them victims of a poorly thought-out and disorganised, unscheduled public transportation system. The system continues to sustain low economic productivity and puts daily psychosocial stress on commuters.

The failure of local municipalities to address the reclassification of these private corridors in which public institutions are located is a confirmation of poor governance, and the practice by the State of extorting money from its citizens, with the police ticketing those who are caught in an unjust and cold-hearted political system.

Clearly, the people of Manchester will have to make their voices heard at the next local government elections, as their current representatives at the municipal corporation are deluded and totally disconnected from where commuters live and work, and study in the parish.