Mon | May 27, 2024

Letter of the Day | Portmore’s transportation system is in shambles

Published:Thursday | April 11, 2024 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

This is an open letter to the minister of transport , JUTC managing director, and the chairman of the Transport Authority on behalf of the travelling public of the soon-to-be parish of Portmore. The current transportation system in place to transport the people of Portmore to and from work is in shambles and must be dealt with immediately.

To the JUTC

We appreciate (yes, I do take public transport) the lowering of the bus fare on the JUTC buses to $50 per passenger but honestly, it really does not add up to much if you are unable to get the buses on time and on a consistent and scheduled basis. Too much productive hours are spent waiting for the public transport to get to work and go about your daily business. Mr Managing Director and Ministry of Transport, how many buses are required to move the people of Portmore? Where is the schedule for the buses? Do we have enough buses to do the mass movement of the public that relies solely on the JUTC buses?

To the Transport Authority

A major part of the Transport Authority is to regulate the fares being charged passengers, and also to ensure that proper infrastructure is in place to complement the public transportation system. If this is so, then by all accounts the Transport Authority has lost its way, especially when it comes to Portmore.

The question I would like to ask of the managing director, who is a former police commissioner, is whether there is an established route for taxis leaving Portmore into Half-Way Tree or Downtown Kingston? If the answer is yes, then what is the fare structure? Unlicensed taxis are charging as much as $500 and above, depending on the time of day, to go into the Corporate Area . This amount is 10 times the amount charged by the JUTC buses – and the catch is people want to get to work and school and so will pay in the absence of reliable public transport. I was in Half-Way Tree recently and at about 8:30 p.m. with no JUTC buses available to Portmore, I was charged $500 to get there. I was advised by the driver that this was because the time was early as by 10 p.m. the fare would be doubled to $1000. Where is the regulation from the Transport Authority, and are they aware of this practice which is being done with impunity? Why are the authorities turning a blind eye to the commuting woes of the people of Portmore?

To the Minister of Transport

We need to hear from you in a clear and decisive voice on the the plans and policies to be implemented to improve the quality of transportation in Portmore. Taxis are parked all over the place and are for the most part unregulated. The taxis need a space from which to operate and this must be provided to avoid the chaos that now exists, and is extremely costly for commuters.

I am saddened but not surprised at the silence of our political representatives. Again, it goes to show that Portmore’s importance is only political, and that once that agenda is being served then no one cares about the public.

HOWARD HAMILTON JP

Independent mayoral

candidate and caretaker