St Ann taxi operators threaten second day of protest
Taxi operators in St Ann protesting the New Road Traffic Act on Monday

Commuters in St Ann have been told to brace for another day of disruption in the transport sector as transport operators across several routes threaten to protest for a second day in a row.

On Monday scores of Commuters were left stranded across several major towns in the parish including St Ann's Bay, Brown's Town and Ocho Rios, as taxi operators withdrew their service as they protested against several issues they say are affecting them in the sector.

The new Road Traffic Act was high on the list of complaints.

Taxi operator Oraine Rumble, who plies the St Ann's Bay to Ocho Rios route, told OBSERVER ONLINE that being ticketed for not having your driver's license on your person is ridiculous.

He said a person might simply rush out and forget his or her licence.

"When you bathe and forget fi take out yuh licence and yuh jump and put on yuh new pants and jump ina the car and forget, them ago charge you $5,000 for that out a road that is madness," he said.

He recounted a moment in which he believes he was unfairly ticketed.

"Wah day me a come from St Ann's Bay and when me reach in a the traffic, me car develop problem. It a shut dung as me go pon the outskirts just fi no stay ina di traffic and cause problem. The police man run me dung over deh and pull me pon the soft shoulder and give me $3,000 ticket. All me a explain to him, him still gi me the ticket and then tell me fi use the soft shoulder. Dem deh sumn deh a madness, so wah yuh bother give me the ticket for then?" he said.

St Ann's protesting taxi operators speak to a police personnel following an altercation among taxi operators over Monday's protest. Some taxi operators were being forced to comply with the protest.

He called on the Andrew Holness-led government to move with alacrity in remedying the situation.

"Andrew, you need fi fix the thing bredda. You need fi sort out the country better, bredda. Dem yah somn yah a madness. Come on, Andrew, deal with the thing better…this ago cause war," he stressed.

Another taxi operator said he wants the government to roll back the price of the tickets and the loss of demerit points when a ticket is issued.

He is fearful that he might lose his licence if he is given just five tickets.

"The price a the ticket them too high, you lose you licence in a one day. If you get three tickets for the day, you lose you licence. A taxi work we live by, we live by we licence so we affi take a stand. Because you licence have 14 points so every ticket you get take a point off a you licence. Imagine you get five seatbelt ticket for the day, 10 points that. You licence done, can't work," he said.

He said that though some commuters are being affected, a number of them are in support of the protests.

"As long as we can out yah we ago out yah, a so it go. We a do this fi the baby mother weh a carry them youth go a school and them want car seat same way. Some commuters them deh yah with we cause them say it no right just the same passengers deh yah with we. Dem know it nuh right," he added.

In the meantime, commuters like Keith Williams might have to find other means of transportation.

Williams, who said that he was lucky to get a free ride to Ocho Rios from Snow Hill on Monday, appeared to have run out of luck when he arrived in the tourist city.

"It affect me because me have kids deh go a school and this morning when me come dung, a free ride me affi get and me affi lef carry them a school and then lef go back a work and you see if the taxi did a run it woulda easier fi me," he said.

"Me just hope everything go back normal and we have free flow weh we can go in a taxi and go weh ever we want. More than it a affect the kids them, mostly a the kids them because you know them have to learn," he added.

The general maintenance worker said the strike affected his income.

"Is a work me did a go a Eltham go do and me cyah get no taxi, so is a water heater me did a go up deh go fix so dah money deh gone. We affi hussle pon the side fi survive because 9 to 5 a hand to mouth," he explained.

OBSERVER ONLINE tried to ascertain if assistance would have been provided by the security forces in bringing students or motorists to school, but calls to the St Ann police chief proved futile.

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