Acting managing director of Transport Authority has big plans for agency

Acting managing director of Transport Authority has big plans for agency

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

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ACTING managing director at the Transport Authority (TA) Willard Hylton is on a mission to improve the authority and the services it provides.

Hylton, who has just completed his first month in his new position at the TA, told JIS News that he has taken the approach of obtaining feedback from stakeholders, especially the staff, at this time.

“The information that we gather is going to be helpful in determining the way we lead the TA,” he said, pointing out that the authority has 16 locations across the island and that he and his management team have been to all locations on a fact-finding mission and to listen to the concerns of the staff.

“The management team is quite clear about some of the things that we need to do to make the staff happy and more productive at work,” he explained. “We have to look after ourselves to be able to deliver what the public is expecting,” he added.

The acting managing director admitted that some of the facilities are in need of improvements to make them more comfortable for staff, and has committed to ensuring that this is done. There are also outstanding internal staff concerns, he said, that will be attended to as well. “So we have a clear understanding about the things that we need to do to make the staff happy at work, and we believe that if the staff is happy, it transcends itself right through, not just where we are but to the entire country”.

Hylton said he has also been taking the time to meet with other stakeholders, such as the route taxi associations, to determine how to support their activities. It is important, he said, for stakeholders to understand that their operation is not just about money and fare increases but rather what can be done to make the business that they are operating more viable.

In addition, he said that he would also be focusing on communicating with the public so that they can understand their role in how public transportation systems operate in Jamaica.

Hylton, who brings more than 30 years of experience in sales and marketing to the position, taught for a number of years at the community level, through the HEART/National Service Training Agency Trust.

He is a former regional manager and former general manager in human resources at the authority.

“I bring all of what I have learned and garnered over the years to see how best we can move the TA to the next level. I think the public expects that we are not going to be just an average entity in government. The public, which is more aware and conscious of how things should be, is demanding more,” he said.

Hylton said the the Transport Authority is on the cutting-edge and comparable with any other transportation system worldwide, and he is determined that the entity will be in a position to be compared that way and will remain viable. “We earn our own money, so in everything that we do, although making money is not the primary thing, we have to ensure that we are able to carry on our activities,” he said.

“I am big on the staff. Everything starts there. I see a TA where our staff turnover will become the lowest when you compare with other entities in government. We want to model entities in Jamaica where staff satisfaction is high, which results in low staff turnover,” he told JIS.

Hylton, meanwhile, says he wants to see a public transportation system where the players in the industry will understand that this is not just a means to 'eat a food'. “It is a business that we are delivering and we must be able to provide the highest standard of public transportation,” he said. He pointed out that there is a lot of work to be done, noting that the barriers to entry to the sector are low and that the authority has to help those persons to grow.

“I don't think we have been focusing there a lot because we spend much of our time trying to deal with the TA's many moving parts, and that limits the time that we have to help the people in the sector. I do believe we have a role to play in making sure that they can understand what they are doing,” Hylton said.

He said that he started an initiative in November 2020, doing orientation sessions with new licencees to understand their role and how they should be utilising that licence in the context of a business. The authority, he said, will be working to ensure that there is a general quality standard for the operators in the sector, so that it is replicated across the country where end users can expect a particular standard of service.

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