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Court to hear suits by private transport operators next week

Thursday, May 22, 2014    

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THE Supreme Court will next Tuesday hear three applications for judicial review that were filed by bus and taxi owners and operators who are challenging policy decisions which they claim are illegal and causing them economic hardship.

The applicants will also seek injunctions to prevent the further enforcement of the policies by the police and the Transport Authority.

Two of the suits were filed by the Rural Transit Association Limited. The group is seeking judicial review of the decision to commandeer a section of the Mandela Highway, during morning peak hour traffic, for the exclusive use of State-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses. The group is also challenging the authority of the JUTC to issue public transportation licences and its authority to charge members fees to operate within the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR).

The JUTC, the commissioner of police, and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) have been named as respondents in the Mandela Highway suit. The Transport Authority, JUTC and the OUR are respondents in the second suit filed by the group.

The other application for judicial review has been filed by V&B Transport Limited and names the Transport Authority, JUTC and the OUR as respondents. V&B is also challenging the authority of the JUTC on the issues of granting licences and the charging of fees to operate within the KMTR.

The claimants are contending that the actions are unlawful, and said that it is the responsibility of the OUR, not the Transport Authority or any other body, to lawfully regulate the public transport sector islandwide.

In the applications filed by the law firm Hugh Wildman and Company between Monday and Tuesday of last week, the claimants are asking for injunctions preventing the respondents from continuing to enforce the policies.

The claimants are also seeking damages for economic harm that they say resulted from the decisions.

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