THE Public Passenger Vehicle Modernisation Council's (PPVMC) Driving History Information (DHI) system got off to a very good start Monday.
According to Route Taxis Association of Jamaica (RTAJ) President, Sophia Campbell, 10,000 owners/operators and 2,000 drivers of public transport vehicles are now in the system, which forms part of the PPVMC's wider Public Transport Management System (PTMS) aimed at creating a more efficient and orderly public transport system.
Campbell said that having registered, a lot of the operators and drivers will have to return for the verification of their documents and for their pictures to be taken for identification, but that the PPVMC is quite pleased with the progress so far.
She pointed out that the process is free, but some supportive services which are optional, including legal advice, carry a charge. She also pointed out that one of the first things the PPVMC is looking, is obtaining group life insurance coverage for the drivers.
"Right now, whenever there is a death or an injury, it is the families who have to bear the brunt of the costs, and we think it is important that there is some coverage that will protect them whenever they are involved in crashes," she pointed out.
Campbell said that the PPVMC has taken note of comments coming from one group of operators, suggesting that the council was seeking to taking on the responsibilities of the Transport Authority. However, she said she did not understand the reasons behind that position, as the PPVMC is not operating as a regulatory agency, like the Transport Authority, but as management body.
"I don't understand what they are objecting to, because our membership is already over 90 per cent of the operators of route taxis, minibuses/coasters and hackney carriage transportation, and we have now been joined by the Rural and Urban Transport Association. So, I don't see why there should be an issue," she explained.
However, she was concerned about statements emanating from the Transport Authority, suggesting that it is ready to roll out a system similar to the PTMS, only weeks after the PPVMC launched its system with the full backing of Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. Morais Guy.
"It is very strange because we have been talking with the Ministry and the Transport Authority, and they have shown an interest in the system and have been working with us," she remarked.