Transport Authority warns hackney carriage operators

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Transport Authority has issued a warning to hackney carriage operators to abide by the law, particularly as it relates to the total seating accommodation for these motor vehicles or face prosecution.
The warning comes after taxi operators this morning protested in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew, about the treatment being meted out to them by the Transport Authority.
The group argued that, while the law makes provision for operators to accommodate four passengers at a time, the authority is targeting them.
"Every time we try to carry four passengers in our vehicle we come under pressure by Transport Authority and that is unfair," spokesperson for the group Edgeton Newman told OBSERVER ONLINE.
However, in a release this afternoon, the Transport Authority said the taxi operators have misinterpreted the law.
“Section 60 (d) of the Road Traffic Act (1938) stipulates that Hackney Carriages are ‘motor vehicles carrying passengers for reward or hire used in standing or plying for hire on any thoroughfare or place frequented by the public and which have seating accommodation for not more than four persons.’
“The total seating accommodation for these vehicles as stipulated by law and in condition 4 of the Road Licences is four persons, which includes the driver. Despite the foregoing, the Authority has observed that several hackney carriage operators are breaching the law by transporting more passengers than what the law stipulates,” the authority explained.
It added that it has been undertaking road operations in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR) since May 2015, geared at improving the supply of legal public transports and adherence to the legislation regarding the seating accommodation.
“The authority is resolute that good order must be maintained in the public land transport sector and has implemented regulations and enforcement operations geared at addressing the issue of excess passengers.
“During the month of May, 2015, the authority prosecuted 23 hackney carriage operators in the KMTR for the offence of operating contrary to the terms and conditions of their road licences. Of this figure, 18 pleaded guilty and paid fines between J$20, 000 to J$25 000, whilst four operators pleaded not guilty and one warrant was issued by the court,” the release noted.
The Transport Authority also urged owners and operators of hackney carriage vehicles to desist from operating as route taxis, as this is contrary to the law as well as the terms and conditions of their road licences.

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