WATCH: Day two of taxi strike hits Mandeville

MANCHESTER, Jamaica – Scores of commuters, including schoolchildren, have been left stranded after taxi operators withdrew their service in the south-central town of Mandeville on the second day of protests over aspects of the new Road Traffic Act.

Placard-bearing taxi operators parked their vehicles and converged along Main Street and the town centre to voice their grouses over what they considered to be high ticket fines for breaches under the new law which took effect on February 1.

Scores of commuters stood among the taxi operators as they were left with no option of transportation. Groups of stranded schoolchildren were also seen in the town centre up to mid-morning Tuesday.

The Transport Authority and traffic police maintained a strong presence in the town centre.

A taxi operator, who identified himself as Richie, told OBSERVER ONLINE that the Government is inconsiderate.

“Mi a straight labourite and mi a tell you the honest truth. Andrew Holness, yuh naa gwan good. If you call election yuh ago inna problem… Just look pon the ticket dem and see how much money yah charge we as taximan. Crime naa solve at all, so why a taximan a the problem?” said Richie.

Another taxi operator, who asked not to be named, shared similar sentiments.

“We suffer through COVID [and] the [high] gas prices and this is how you thank us, with dem yah high ticket price. We are a key part of this society and every time poor people haffi feel it. Every time we as taximen haffi feel it. We have families. Our kids want to go to college and university too, so if you take out every dollar out a we pocket - every step we mek is a rule fi pressure we,” he said.

“If a taxi man turn off of him route to go drop [off] somebody, a $30,000. How can that be? Dem want we put child seat inna taxi. How can that be? How can that work? If you say you love poor people give we a chance,” he added.

Kasey Williams

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