PSOJ embraces new age of electronic traffic tickets
Private Sector Organisation of Jamiaca (PSOJ) President Keith Duncan (left) consults George Overton, chair of the PSOJ's national security and justice committee, at Wednesday's press conference at the association's headquarters in St Andrew. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

THE Private Sector of Jamaica (PSOJ) says the Government's revamp of its traffic ticket management system (TTMS) is a positive development for Jamaica which will reduce indiscipline on the roads.

President of the PSOJ Keith Duncan, while addressing a press conference at the organisation's secretariat on Hope Road in St Andrew on Wednesday, credited the Ministry of National Security for its hard work "to get us there in that direction after many years".

"We can now use it as a platform to further reduce indiscipline on the road because there are consequences to behaviours [as] we [now] have an integrated platform," he said.

He said the PSOJ has been working with the Ministry of National Security under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which established a Public Order and Oversight Committee to help the Government deliver on critical projects and initiatives dealing with public safety and order.

The e-ticket system, now enabling law enforcement to issue electronic traffic tickets, has been a deliverable for the Government of Jamaica since 2010, but there has been a focused effort over the last two to three years to get the new system implemented.

Under this system, an electronic portal developed for the payment of tickets and to make status queries online was piloted within Government agencies in October last year. It is now to be published for full access to the public.

According to chair of the PSOJ Standing Committee on National Security and Justice, Lieutenant Commander George Overton, the technology is meant to be very simple to use.

"It's a matter of going on to the web portal and putting in your tax registration [TRN] and your name and you will be able to see if you have outstanding tickets. Certainly, if you are stopped by one of the police officers, utilising one of the e-systems, he will be able to tell you at that point in time that you do have an outstanding ticket; he may very well also take you into custody," he said.

He said that with the electronic system, when a motorist is issued an e-ticket by the police, the individual is able to pay online right then and there on your phone.

"So it's not a matter where you get the ticket and you get a piece of paper and you have to wait. It's almost instantaneous that the e-ticket, once it is issued and [the police] prints it, you can go online and pay it right there without even leaving the location that you received the ticket," he said.

"It's really taking it into the new age. Most of us…have received tickets and you're almost down to the 30th day and you're scrambling to get to the tax office to pay it. Those days are now behind us. It's real time, and it's online, not only for interrogation but also for payment," he said.

Lt Commander Overton said that, as the system is introduced to the public and placed at the appropriate agency, there will be an education programme accompanying the roll-out.

He noted, however, that there are two elements delaying the implementation of the project. He explained that there is going to be a rewrite of the TTMS system to accommodate the new Road Traffic Act and the associated penalties. The other aspect is that there has been some debate within the government agencies and departments as to who is to house the online portal.

"It is hoped that by the end of the rewrite of the TTMS is completed that all will be able to be launched at the same time," he said.

In the meantime, Lt Commander Overton said a report is now being awaited from the Jamaica Constabulary Force regarding the pilot and their proposal for the implementation and broadening of this programme in 2023.

The pilot saw 317 police being sensitised on the use of the system, with 120 hand-held devices and hand-held printers deployed. Another 750 hand-held devices that are to be deployed by March 2023.

"So what you will see is more and more police officers in the field having access to the data as to who has tickets, who has outstanding penalties, and whether the documentation on the various vehicles that are presented are authentic and in keeping with what has been presented to the authorities," he said.

"I think good progress is being made in that area. What we have to do is focus on keeping the progress going, particularly on the rewrite, because everybody knows when you start to rewrite software it becomes somewhat complicated and tedious," he said.

BY ALECIA SMITH Senior staff reporter smitha@jamaicaobserver.com

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