A viable mode of transportation is needed in any country for commuters. The rapid growth of the taxi industry has gone rampant with a massive inflow of legal and illegal taxis being in the public presence. Taxis, both legally and illegally have helped commuters in Jamaica to go about their day to day activities with ease. Some taxis run contrary to the routes they were licensed to drive on and as such causes a direct clash with the state owned transportation system that were designated to drive on those same routes. As the population increases, the need for commuting also increases.
Whether or not this need will be resolved using any of the modes of transport, namely, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), taxi, minibus or private taxi, there is a great need to regularize the increasing growth of the taxi industry.
Regularizing would mean it would end the strain that it is putting on the country resources, namely the Police and Transport Authority (TA). The safety of commuters is imperative and this becomes a crucial factor especially seen where illegal taxis try to evade authorities with passengers which leads into an accident 50% of the time. Illegal taxis or taxis that are running contrary to their route are cutting the country’s revenue from the JUTC thus, having a ripple effect on the country GDP. If the policies are to be fully implemented it will have a backlash on the taxi fraternity. The policy that paragraph 5.69 states has yet come to fruition with the expansion of the routes. Both the urban and rural areas will be hindered because of the poor road infrastructure in the island. Metered taxi services will seem unfair for passengers as this might be too expensive. Turning over designated routes and a fair selection of routes as stated in 5.70 and 5.71 respectfully will bring some form of order to these routes as it will allow the taxis to run without interference from the state-owned bus company. This will keep the taxi from going outside of the route that is assigned to them and maintain order. Sharing of the routes fairly will make taxi operators not feeling cheated by the state when all the major routes are taken.
The transport authority will have directives over all public transport vehicles in regulation and keep them in with accordance with the law.
People are not readily accepting of fast change. Sometimes they are left confused and paranoid. Instead, a slow and steady implementation of the policy should be done over a three (3) year period. When it approaches the time to license their vehicles in March, the transport Authority should give a check list to all operators stating what must be done to the car for visual identification. A pilot of the meter taxi can be done for a year to see if it is feasible before implementing it to the operators. There should be a quota in the TA database for how much drivers should be issued license for a particular route in the KMTR, this will put a stop to the massive number of taxis on a particular route that have road license. A subtle way of bringing out the Transport Authority in monitoring and regulating public passenger vehicles instead of a massive inflow of personnel only when its licensing period.
Many taxis and minibuses operate in direct competition with many buses contrary to their licenses. In addition, the rapid growth in legal and illegal taxis and minibuses operating across the country has severely strained the resources of both the Police and the Transport Authority (TA).
The Government will rationalize the taxi industry by implementing a number of programs to help update their information system i.e. visual identification of taxis, introduction of metered taxis, expansion of route taxi services in rural and urban area.
The Government will allow route taxis to operate on designated routes within the KMTR where commuter needs cannot be satisfied by the public bus system, or if the roads are too narrow for larger buses. 5.71 A system will be developed to allow for a fair selection of route taxi operators for the designated routes in the KMTR, and a number of routes will be assigned.
Government will strengthen the capacity of the Transport Authority to monitor and regulate public passenger vehicles. Increase access to transportation and transport services in rural areas The main focus has been developing urban areas for years, however, this has left the rural area in disrepair and underdeveloped. Jamaicans commute all over the island whether for pleasure or business and the road infrastructure is viable for this to happen. The issue that the rural area faces is the poor transport system and road network. Bad roads in rural area contribute to excessive wear and tear on operator vehicle when traversing the route. It comes at a cost to the operators of the vehicle to maintain and fix. Not only taxis are left feeling the effects of poor roads but also the agriculture industry is left with a damaging effect when goods cannot be taken out.
With the rising development of the road network the concurrent development of rural network will allow ease of commuting for rural communities. With a proper network, agricultural transport to urban areas will be easy to access. However, after these roads are fixed it is necessary to maintain them or it will succumb to the natural elements.
Without maintenance, growth of this sector will be stagnant and planning will always be at stage one. The development of a well-regulated transport system in rural areas is important for poverty reduction and agricultural development. An integrated multi-sectoral approach is required. Concurrent with the development of the road network, it will be possible to foster improved rural mobility and access to basic transport facilities. Transport and rural development policies will be more closely linked to improve economic conditions.