Gov't must not bow to road hogs, terrorists

Friday, April 11, 2014    

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If you go by the complaints, the Government went about the reorganisation of the public transportation system in a most high-handed fashion.

Some people will agree with that analysis, others won't. What we all can't deny, however, is that, outside of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), what has been operating here is the Wild West of bus systems.

We would be surprised to find a motorist or commuter in Kingston who has not experienced the rampant indiscipline displayed by minibus, Coaster bus and taxi drivers each day. They weave in and out of lanes, race on crowded streets, break traffic lights and disregard traffic signs, even drive on sidewalks to get ahead of their competitors, all without regard for the safety of their passengers and other road users. Add to that the fact that some can be seen drinking alcohol while they drive, as well as the disgusting habit they have of stopping, wherever they please, to pick up or drop off passengers.

In short, these are people who believe that traffic rules don't apply to them. Their behaviour, of course, did not come upon us overnight. It actually had its genesis in the free-for-all created by the Government in the late 1970s and which increased in the early to mid-1980s when politics trumped the maintenance of order.

In a sense, what successive governments have done was treat the public transportation system as they did the sugar industry — ignore the rot and cost to the country in favour of the votes in the sector.

That is why the State is now having a difficult time in correcting the problem, because the illegality and reprehensible behaviour have grown into a culture that is made worse by a sense of entitlement and proliferation of this 'eat a food' mentality.

Those, no doubt, are the people who have been organising the stoning of JUTC buses across the Corporate Area since the start of this week.

Those are the evil idiots responsible for the hospitalisation of a 10-year-old schoolgirl who, on Tuesday, was hit in the forehead by a stone and who suffered bruises and cuts from splinters from a broken window when a JUTC bus was stoned in Stony Hill in St Andrew.

Those same imbeciles are the ones responsible for every Jamaican now having to fund the more than $2.5 million in repairs to the JUTC buses that they damaged out of sheer stupidity. For we can't see how stoning and damaging JUTC buses will get the Government to consider the position of those who have lost franchises.

In fact, the very act of having the buses stoned is further proof that this lot ought not to be entrusted with people's lives, because it suggests an inability to resolve disputes via dialogue.

The cold, hard truth is that the public transportation system needed an overhaul, as it lacks order, discipline and professionalism.

The Government, it appears, is at last committed to getting that done. The State must not bow to threats and acts of terrorism.





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