Police to PPV's: Don't operate without correct road licence

Police to PPV's: Don't operate without correct road licence

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, January 05, 2020

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THE police high command is reinforcing that there will be zero tolerance for motorists who operate Public Passenger Vehicles (PPV) without the correct road licence.

A PPV licensed vehicle can be identified by a red plate and a special sticker on the windscreen. Holders of this licence have the legal authority to carry passengers in their vehicles, along stipulated guidelines.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer, head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF), Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB), Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dr Kevin Blake said motorists need to comply with the law and for those who choose to do otherwise must know that the police will do their job.

Dr Blake was responding to queries made on behalf of a taxi operator whose vehicle was seized on December 27 in the vicinity of JN Bank on Constant Spring Road. The taxi operator, employed to a popular company, told the Sunday Observer of his post-Christmas ordeal that led to the impoundment of his vehicle.

“I was asked to pull over and he came to my vehicle and said I was operating without a road licence (and) I must show him the documents. I showed him the documents and upon observation he realised I was in the process of changing vehicles, upgrading from one vehicle to another vehicle. All the documents were intact except for the road licence, which was not yet granted from the Transport Authority (TA).

“The officer stated that he has cars on the road and he had to wait until his road licence was printed before he could operate, so he is going to take away my vehicle. I did not dispute it and he proceeded to do so, as in call the wrecker. The client that I had in the car, she exited the vehicle and I took her to get another taxi. I was given a ticket for no road licence and asked to pay it at the nearest tax office and go by the pound to get a release form to collect the vehicle the same day,” he said.

The taxi operator further contended that while he respects the policeman for carrying out his duties, his main concern is that he has to park his vehicle until the required licence is ready, a delay he says is the fault of the TA.

“As transport operators, when we are upgrading from one vehicle to another it's a process that probably takes two weeks to prepare the vehicle to be inspected and passed as a taxi. Transport Authority said it took 10 working days to prepare the licence once it is submitted to the office. So I am asking how is it that we are to operate? We are already in the business, have clientele. Should we park our vehicle and desist from operating while TA is producing the current road licence? How should we survive when our income generator is stalled? I know I am not the only one affected,” he stated.

But the PSTEB boss remained resolute that the law stipulates that every applicant must obtain a red plate (PPV licence) before they can operate.

“The Transport Authority always issue a document that clearly states that the documents they issue do not permit them to operate as Public Passenger Vehicle without the red plates. If the person operating the vehicle with private plates was the one who made the application, then he should be very much aware that he should not have been operating without the correct plates. I am encouraging motorists of the need to comply with the law, and remind those who choose to do otherwise that the police will do their job,” Blake said.

Transport Authority communications officer Sharlene Hamilton, in responding to the queries of the motorist, said the short answer is “yes”.

“Yes, you have to park your vehicles. You are not allowed to operate without the road licence. That is law and until the law is amended, discretion or leeway cannot be granted. It's like applying for a passport or visa to travel. You just have to wait until you get the document,” she said, reiterating that the law only recognises the correct road licence.

Further, Hamilton sought to assist the motorist but he would not present the additional information she requested in order to investigate and further advise him.

Hamilton encouraged him and other affected motorists who may not fully understand the legal ramifications to meet with the TA.

“We would like to assist him and others with similar issues but we need more than just a name, we have to have the registration number and other details to advise on the the processing. But, going forward understand that the law is the law,” Hamilton said.

Moreover, applicants for PPV licences are required to:

* Be age 21 old years or older

* Complete the application form — available on the Transport Authority's website or at any of its locations

* Submit the form with the following documents: the original and photocopy of current (1) Registration Certificate (2) Certificate of Fitness (3) Insurance Certificate/Cover Note (d) Proof of address (4) A copy of owner(s) Identification (Driver's Licence/National Identification/Passport) (5) owner's Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), (6) Original Road Licence and (7) Police Certificate (Police Record)

* Pay a processing fee at the tax office and take the receipt to the examination depot in the respective parish

* Upon approval, signalling that all the requirements have been met, the required licensing fee should be paid

Public Passenger

(1) Route Taxi — this is a vehicle that is licensed to operate on a designated route, seats no more than 10 passengers at a time, and may stop to pick up or drop off passengers along the route. These taxis must have, among other things, 'route taxi' and the particulars relating to the route legibly printed on the outside of the front doors. The applicant is currently required to pay $25,000 (subject to revision) for this licence.

(2) Hackney Carriage — this is a vehicle that is for hire and carries no more than three persons — who should be travelling together – at a time. These operators are not allowed to use bus stops or terminals, as these are designated for other types of vehicle operators. The applicant is currently required to pay $25, 000 (subject to revision) for this licence.

(3) Stage Carriage — this vehicle is licensed to carry passengers who pay separately, and is only allowed to drop them off along the designated route. The vehicle must have seats to accommodate no fewer than 11 passengers. All stage carriages must display at the front and rear of the vehicle the origin and destination of the route for which it is licensed. The person who is the holder of a licence to use their vehicle as a stage carriage may also use it as a contract or an express carriage. This category of licence is further subdivided and has additional requirements. To view same please visit http://ta.org.jm/faq.

(4) Express Carriage — this vehicle is hired by passengers for a journey from multiple points (specified in advance) to one or more destinations. Passengers pay separate fares. This vehicle must have seating for no fewer than 11 passengers. The applicant is currently required to pay $120, 000 (subject to revision) when applying for a new Express Carriage licence.

(5) Contract Carriage — this vehicle is hired on a contractual basis at an agreed rate or sum, is not allowed to carry general members of the public, and may only use designated roads or places as points for soliciting or taking up passengers. The applicant is currently required to pay $16, 600 (subject to revision) for a new Contract Carriage licence.

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