DR Morais Guy, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, says that having recognised its inability to satisfy the public transportation needs of the nation, the government will be seeking private sector partnerships to better serve the public.
He said his ministry recognises that there is disorder and mayhem in the system, "and this government -- through the Transport Authority -- is embarking on a programme to bring improvement to the sector".
Dr Guy listed the elements of improvement necessary as: training and certification of public passenger vehicle operators; integrated monitoring mechanisms to track persons with outstanding tickets and warrants; strengthening the licensing and legislative framework; as well as the regulatory and monitoring ability of the Transport Authority and rationalising route taxi associations.
He said that, in accordance with the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act (1988), there will be mandatory training for all public passenger vehicle operators, through a joint training programme between the Transport Authority and HEART Trust/NTA. Participants will be issued permits similar to the ID cards used by Hackney Carriage operators.
A modernisation of existing hackney carriage operators is also being contemplated.
So too is an integrated monitoring mechanism among the courts, Transport Authority, police, Island Traffic Authority and Tax Administration Jamaica, to facilitate timely reports on Public Passenger Vehicle (PPV) operators convicted of criminal/traffic offences, or who have outstanding tickets and warrants.
The licensing and legislative framework, together with the regulatory and monitoring ability of the Transport Authority will also be strengthened to enhance its licensing, legislative and monitoring capacity.
In the meantime, Dr Guy said the ministry will undertake an extensive review of the Transport Authority and Road Traffic Act, to provide the appropriate recommendations for amendments to the legislative framework for public passenger vehicle operators.
A national feasibility survey is being done to make strategic decisions regarding the development of the public transportation system and to assess the demand and supply on all established routes, as well as the introduction of new routes as is necessary.
"The implementation of a suspension and revocation policy for recalcitrant drivers and the introduction of the requirement to provide proof of address for all applicants for road licences, permits and badges are also being addressed," he said.