63 PPV operators charged for excess fares
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Sixty-three individuals have been charged, to date, as the Transport Authority steps up measures to address the overcharging of fares by public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators.
Transport Authority Managing Director, Ralston Smith, made the disclosure as he addressed a press conference called by Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, Daryl Vaz, at the ministry’s Maxfield Avenue offices in Kingston on Tuesday.
Effective October 15, fares were raised by 19 per cent, with a further 16 per cent increase to take effect in April 2024.
Smith shared that the authority has executed more than 90 operations since the fare increase took effect. “We have made 142 prosecutions in total,” he noted.
He urged commuters “not to pay a dollar over” and to report instances of overcharging to the authority.
Noting that the authority has the responsibility to safeguard the rights and preserve the interests of the commuting public, he said the entity will not allow any operator, driven by greed or other motive, to exploit the public.
Smith advised that 165 complaints have been submitted to the Transport Authority’s newly established database and, to date, 145 have been resolved while the remaining complaints are under investigation.
Meanwhile, Minister Vaz, urged members of the public to report overcharging and take a stand against the practice.
He said that there are a handful of operators who are overcharging, and once people continue to take these vehicles and pay the higher rates, then the illegal practice will become ingrained.
“The more they resist, is the more they’re gonna be forced to pull back,” he contended.
He said while the Government and the Transport Authority have a responsibility to address the issue, the public has a role to play.
“The commuters, themselves, have to take responsibility and they have to agree that they are going to report, they are going to boycott, and they are going to do what they need to do to protect themselves, because we will never have enough boots on the ground to go into every district and every community and every parish.
“There can only be one fare and that is the fare regulated by the Transport Authority,” he stressed.
Transport Authority Chairman, Owen Ellington, stated that the authority has established a strong collaboration with the Jamaica Constabulary Force and some of the policing issues, which appeared for some time to be intractable, are being addressed.
“The very vexed issue of extortion against public transport operators has been taken on frontally. I’m pleased to say that over the last two weeks, the police have arrested close to 20 persons and they are not finished. They are going to continue the work because there is a lot of this problem to be dealt with around the country,” Ellington said.