Letters to the Editor

Let's stand against illegal transport practices

Monday, March 18, 2019

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Dear Editor,

In response to the letter in the Jamaica Observer titled 'An injustice to bus passengers' on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 written by Shanika Williams outlining an experience she had on a bus travelling from Spanish Town to Mandeville I hasten to add that this situation of illegal fare increase is not unique to that route, but is a problem in almost every parish.

Bus drivers, conductors and taxi operators, from time to time, take the job of the transport minister into their own hands and tack on up to 50 per cent on the original fare.

They say traffic, holiday, 'faster route', air conditioning provided, and tolls are the reasons for their unlawful fare hike. There are also instances where the increases have become permanent.

The situation is further compounded with children in and out of uniform being forced to pay adult fares. Failing to do so they are compelled to stand, bundle up in sevens and eights in one row or run the risk of being verbally abused or physically ejected from the vehicle.

Bus tickets are operators' prized possessions and are only hastily given when there is the knowledge that Transport Authority inspectors along with the police are working on the particular route. These tickets are sometimes collected back from passengers after passing the authorities.

The reality is that the transport operators are allowed to do as they feel because we are not united as a people. An employee runs the risk of being suspended or fired if they are late for work because they choose not to pay an illegal bus or taxi fare. Passengers just sit and watch transport operators abuse passengers for not complying with the illegal fare demands. So much for 'united we stand'.

The Transport Authority cannot be on every route, in every bus or taxi. So while their role is of paramount importance in regulating the transport system, citizens also have the duty to stand up for what is right.

Hezekan Bolton


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