Most St Ann cabbies back on the job
Taxi operators in St Ann protesting the New Road Traffic Act on Monday

OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Commuters across St Ann were on Tuesday spared the brunt of an expected disruption in the transport sector as many taxi operators returned to the job after withdrawing their services the previous day.

Cabbies who withdrew their service on Monday had vowed to stay off the job for a second day to register their displeasure with aspects of the new Road Traffic Act. However, many of them opted instead to return to work.

READ: St Ann taxi operators threaten second day of protest

True to their commitment after Monday's protest, the St Ann police had a visible presence on the roads so taxi operators who wished to return to work could do so without being intimidated by their peers.

There were still some disruptions, including a tree that was felled near the popular Dunn’s River Falls, but swift action by the police prevented any major issues. On the Brown's Town to Runaway Bay main road, blockages were cleared and a small fire fuelled by freshly cut trees was quickly extinguished.

Taxi operator Andre Bennett, who plies the St Ann's Bay to Ocho Rios route, welcomed the move by his colleagues to return to work. Apart from a few cabbies who stayed off the job, mostly gathering instead to drink rum, the day went smoothly, he told OBSERVER ONLINE.

“Them did a try one and two things but police deh pon the presence right away so them affi cool themselves," Bennett said with admiration for the lawmen.

His views were supported by Glenroy Campbell who has been plying the Oracabessa to Ocho Rios route with his taxi for more than 10 years. Cabbies, he said, should go through established channels to have their concerns addressed. They only hurt themselves when they withdraw their services, he argued.

"That's why you have taxi association enuh, so you no affi a protest every day. Wah the sense you a stop work every day? Wah you a guh do if the government no reply? You a lose money; it nuh make sense," he said.

Commuter Akeem Hewitt said while he was grateful that more taxi operators had returned to work, the shortage of vehicles and the overcrowding are still creating a challenge. Passengers have to scramble quickly to get a seat, he complained.

"More while yah fi move fast fi get a taxi, as you quint them full. Mi might still reach work late because of that, but at least mi might nuh as late as yesterday [Monday when more cabbies stayed off the job]," he said.

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