Minibus, taxi operators to file suit this week
'We will sue!'
BUS and taxi operators will this week file suit in the Supreme Court challenging a number of policy decisions that have affected them, including the revocation of route licences by the Transport Authority.
The class action suit will also seek to challenge a decision to commandeer a section of the Mandela highway for the exclusive use of Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses, and the directive that rural buses that terminate in downtown Kingston cannot pick up or drop off passengers along the way while in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR).
The claimants will also be seeking an injunction to bar the continued enforcement of the decisions that the affected say have robbed them of the means of making a living.
Attorney Hugh Wildman made the announcements yesterday while addressing a mass gathering of members of the various associations representing bus and taxi owners and operators at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Kingston.
"What is taking place in the transport sector is a web of illegality and you are the victims," Wildman told the gathering. "These lawsuits are going to expose the illegalities."
The attorney said there is no legal basis for the actions taken by the authority, and that the legal team he is leading will be asking the court to declare them illegal.
Wildman elicited howls of approval when he told the gathering that they were entitled to get back "all that (they) have been deprived of in damages" when the court rules in their favour. "And with interest too!" shouted a woman in the crowd.
The Transport Ministry last November gave permission for a lane of the Mandela Highway to be used only by JUTC buses during peak hours. It was a trial run that was eventually extended and made permanent by policy this month, Wildman told the Jamaica Observer.
The move, however, was unpopular with other bus operators who felt that they should have been afforded the same privilege.
But the bus and taxi operators' biggest grouse was with the decision of the Transport Authority to not renew the sub-franchise licences of some operators within the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region, which includes sections of Portmore and Spanish Town, both in St Catherine.
Yesterday, one speaker after another urged unity among bus and taxi owners and operators if they are to be successful in their struggle against what they say is a great injustice against them.