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JUTC boss scoffs at lawsuit threat by bus, taxi operators

Tuesday, April 29, 2014    

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THE Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) vowed yesterday that it would vigorously contest any lawsuit filed against it by bus and taxi owners and operators.

"...Had there been more diligent research of the law, the advice given to the operators would not be so far from the mark as to be bordering on the ridiculous," JUTC Managing Director Colin Campbell said in a release yesterday.

On Sunday, attorney Hugh Wildman announced plans to file lawsuits against the State-owned bus company while addressing a mass gathering of members of the various associations representing bus and taxi owners and operators at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kingston.

Wildman said that the lawsuits will be challenging a number of issues affecting the transport operators, including the decision by the Transport Authority to take back some bus and taxi routes within the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR); the decision to commandeer a section of the Mandela Highway for the exclusive use of JUTC buses; and the directive that rural buses that terminate in downtown Kingston cannot pick up or drop off passengers along the way while in the KMTR.

Wildman said that the claimants would also be seeking an injunction to bar the continued enforcement of the decisions that have robbed the transport operators of the means of making a living.

"What is taking place in the transport sector is a web of illegality and you are the victims," Wildman told the gathering. "These lawsuits are going to expose the illegalities."

Yesterday, Campbell, in the press release, directed Wildman to Section 3 of the Public Passenger (KMTR) Act which states that the minister may grant exclusive licence to any person, as is the case with the JUTC, to provide public passenger transport service within the KMTR.

Under Section 3(3)(c) of the said Act, Campbell said, the minister has a right to grant a road licence authorising the operation of stage carriage or express carriage service on any route, partly within the KMTR, provided that no passenger carried on such services are to be taken up at any point within the KMTR or not more than 440 yards beyond the boundary of the KMTR.

Regarding the use of a section of the Mandela Highway, Campbell said the transport minister gave permission for this to be done after the JUTC made an application.

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