Sun | Dec 4, 2022

New policies needed to drive transport sector, says Phillips

Published:Saturday | April 9, 2022 | 12:05 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Mikael Phillips, Opposition spokesman on transport and works
Mikael Phillips, Opposition spokesman on transport and works

OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN on transport and works, Mikael Phillips, has described the current transport sector as one operating without vision and contributing to the lack of order, with what appears to be an underserving policy and operational approach.

During his contribution to the Sectoral Debate on Tuesday, Phillips chided the Transport Authority for merely issuing road licences and designating routes without adequately determining how additional operators will be properly accommodated.

“These so-called bus and taxi parks are owned by the Municipal Corporation and bear no relationship to the number of commuters. It is causing severe overcrowding in our town centres, with the Transport Authority having no influence.”

The Manchester North Western member of parliament highlighted the plight of several taxi and bus operators who are forced to use a space that cannot properly house them; consequently paying thousands of dollars in fines for perceived road traffic breaches.

Last month, taxi operators who ply several routes into sections of Christiana, Manchester, protested against the inadequate space and the fines of up to $10,000 per day for failure to use the park.

Chief executive officer at the Manchester Municipal Corporation, Winston Palmer, who told The Gleaner that they are aware of the space challenges, said an estimate will be done to see to the expansion of the current park, with possible assistance from the Ministry of Transport.

“There is a disconnect in the management of the transport sector, caused by the lack of foresight. We must deal with this issue as adequate parking in town centres requires more collaboration between the Transport Authority and the Municipal Corporation,” Phillips noted.

Following the Transport Authority’s imposition of a $10,000 fine for operators of public passenger vehicle who are late in renewing their transport licences, Phillips encouraged the minister of transport to reconsider that decision as there is now mounting pressure with rising gas prices. With an amended road traffic bill first proposed in 2014, placed before a joint select committee of Parliament for review and subsequently passed in the House of Representatives in 2018, Phillips is calling for an amendment of the Transport Authority Act and status report on all the promises previously made to revolutionise the sector.

tamara.bailey@gleanerjm.com