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IMPROVED SERVICE - Transport group promises better experience

By Brian Bonitto
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 24, 2018

AT least one public-passenger transport group service is promising commuters an improved service come mid-September.

The 7,000-member Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS), headed by Egeton Newman, says it intends to bring back some respectability to the sector.

“We've been often labelled as reckless people, who have no regard for life, and we want to change that perception. We want to reduce the stigma being placed on the sector for decades,” Newman told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine yesterday. “We're in the tourism business, so we have to focus on how we deal with commuters and uphold standards... There'll be a big focus on road safety.”

According the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, the death toll on the island stands at 217, compared to 232 over the corresponding period last year.

Since January 1, seven commuters in public-passenger vehicles and two drivers lost their lives, while there were 32 passengers and 43 drivers in private motor vehicles.

Newman said the first phase of the project will be officially launched on September 13 and will run until December 30. However, prior to that, there will be a major Transport Operators Monitoring and Observation programme come September 4.

“We're aiming for at least 200 people. We will be going out in the field and meeting with owners and operators... having face-to-face talk with them. Then we access and evaluate the progress before moving to a classroom-type situation. We're hoping to conduct some of the classes at the Caribbean Maritime Institute,” he said.

Areas targeted include Half-Way-Tree, Manor Park, Constant Spring, downtown Kingston, and Spanish Town.

Newman, who puts a $10-million price tag on the project's first phase, said several stakeholders will be involved, including; the Police Traffic Division, Transport Authority, Social Development Commission, and Tourism Product Development Company.

Started in March 2012, the TODSS, according to Newman, has a mandate of research, development, lobby and promotion with a view to improve public transport service, and the lives of its members.

“We owe it to the commuting public to provide a good transportation network and service and we owe it to ourselves to do the best we can in trying times,” he added.