Falmouth mayor urges robot taxi operators to get regularised
Commuters and cabbies at the Falmouth Transportation Centre in Friday, September 1.

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Mayor of Falmouth and chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation (TMC) Councillor Collen Gager is boasting that already the recently opened Falmouth Transportation Centre is yielding a significant reduction of traffic congestion in the capital.

Gager, at the same time, is also encouraging "robot" taxi operators to get regularised and utilise the facility.

The facility was opened on Friday, September 1, following an approximately $20-million upgrade.

"On my way into the Water Square [Falmouth] this [Thursday] morning I could see the police and Transport Authority doing their duty because there were those who were trying to disobey — not the red plates. I believe the robots are still on the road.

Trelawny Municipal Corporation worker handing parking ticket to a taxi operator at the Falmouth Transportation Centre on Friday, September 1.

"We will have to encourage those who are doing the robot to get regularised. Make sure that you regularise your operations to take passengers to and fro; make sure you are well insured and organised because if an accident should happen there is no way for the passengers to receive help from the insurance company because you aren't supposed to be on the road taking passengers," Gager warned at Thursday's sitting of the TMC.

"So, we are encouraging you to get regularised so that you can participate. And you have to remember that it is unfair to the gentlemen who have spent their money to get their red plate and their insurance and are in the park — they should be able to earn. So ladies and gentlemen, the police are doing the work and I am very proud of them and the Transport Authority," he added.

Ahead of the September 1 opening of the transport centre cabbies expressed concern over inadequate shelter and other issues that needed to be ironed out at the facility.

Hopeton Gordon, president of the nearly 400-member Coastal Transportation Association (CTS) which welcomed the amenities, was among those who expressed concern that the level of shelter from the elements is inadequate. He also called for the covering of a drain that runs alongside the facility.

Gager guaranteed that complaints, such as the inadequate number of shelters at the facility, will be addressed in short order.

Further, Gager revealed that the construction of a large shelter for the facility is currently being designed as he appealed to members of the travelling public for their patience.

"I would also like to say that we have two sheltered areas that are covered down by the transportation centre, but I would like to say that that is not enough. We want to do another one; that is being designed right now. After that is done the local authority will be finding the money and we will be making sure that we will have that big shelter so that everyone can shelter. So, therefore, I ask you to bear with us," he implored.

Gager added: "I would also like to say that I will not tell you that everything is spic and span down by the transportation centre. We have areas that are just 'chip and spray' so you will have a lot of loose gravel and dust. We will be working on that very soon — as soon as we can make a little money — because we did a lot of sacrifice to get here."

BY HORACE HINES Observer writer

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