My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JATOO and the Transportation Revolution in Jamaica - Babylon By Bus

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

JATOO and the Transportation Revolution in Jamaica - Babylon By Bus


I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba and cry: “Tis all barren!”

Stern, A Sentimental Journey

The recent complaint by JATOO (Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators) with regards to the new transportation arrangements for people traveling from Downtown Kingston to the rest of Jamaica is an example of the lack of progress that we as a country have made from a perception point of view, when it comes to the inevitable march of progress.

The article in question, entitled “JATOO continues fight for parking”, published Tuesday, January 04, 2011, The Jamaica Observer, chronicles this quite well.

Apparently “touts” and their families losing the benefit of making money from escorting people to buses in a disorderly atmosphere is their MAIN concern. Ditto for Taxi and Bus Operators also protesting as per the article “May Pen taxi, bus operators protest”, published Thursday, December 30, 2010, Go-Jamaica.

This after taxpayers dollars was expended to build said Transport facility in the first place, as per the article “New Transport arrangements to be implemented in Downtown Kingston in January”, published Thursday, December 09, 2010, Jamaica Information Service and corroborated by the article “Downtown Kingston Transport plan takes effect mid-January”, published Thursday, December 09, 2010, The Jamaica Observer and the article “Transport center in Downtown Kingston to soon open”, Published Tuesday November 23, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Curiously, similar measures are being implemented in May Pen, Clarendon, with the Denbigh and Toll Gate Taxis being relocated under the watchful eye of the May Pen Tax Office, over which these Taxi and Bus Operators are also protesting as per the article “May Pen taxi, bus operators protest”, published Thursday, December 30, 2010, Go-Jamaica.

Thus the resumption of the more organized Passenger Railway system as stated in the article “JRC close to resuming the Passenger Rail Service”, published January 4, 2011, 11:54 am, RJR News Online is also not a coincidence, merely part of the Government of Jamaica, specifically the Ministry of Transport and Works long term plan to restructure Jamaica ailing Transport Sector to be more commerce-ready and attractive for business. Obvious, as multiple options inclusive of road, railways and air makes for competitive and easy transportation of goods and services.

Hence the push by Senator Mike Henry, Minister of Transport and Works, for the establishment of an aerodrome at Vernamfield as well as an Aviation college as per the article “Henry to make Cabinet submission on Vernamfield in Clarendon”, published Tuesday, January 04, 2011, Go-Jamaica.

This despite the fact that the Vernamfield Aerodrome is already betrothed to the Peoples Republic of China negotiated with Senator Karl Samuda, Minister of Commerce as stated in the article “CHINESE WANT KINGSTON WHARVES” published Monday, March 08, 2010 by Paul Henry Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer and again opined as per my blog article entitled “The People's Republic of China and the Development of Brand Jamaica”.

Hopefully, the development of the South Coast, specially fixing roads to Milk River Bath, Clarendon as well as Spring Plains, St. Jago Roasa, Clarendon (both on Google Maps!) are a part of their plans as per my blog article entitled “South Coast development in Clarendon necessary for JLP Victory”.

Hold on! Let’s not forget the mere fact that the Government of Jamaica now becoming involved might be the root cause of this discord; interfering with the general state of disorder Downtown, which benefits the Bus Drivers and Conductors, who as a whole dislike order i.e. wearing uniforms, properly attired, giving passengers tickets, speeding up the bus loading process, etc, stuff over which JATOO could be heavily ticked by the Traffic Arm of the Jamaican Constabulary Force aka the Jamaican Police.

Please note at this point that the Jamaican Police are STILL under mandate from Senator Dwight Nelson, Minister of Security who stated in Parliament on Thursday April 1st 2010 that the Ministry of National Security intends to collect almost JA$350 million in traffic fines in 2010, an increase of JA$100 million over 2009’s figure based on Prime Time News aired Thursday April 1st 2010, Television Jamaica.

In fact, NRCS (National Road Safety Council) had been mandated to put into effect an Automated Electronic Traffic Ticketing System since 2010 as stated in the article “CCTV speed Traps - Surveillance Cams to track Road Hogs” published Monday July 13, 2009 by Tyrone Reid, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner which I had opined as being long overdue in my blog article entitled “Information on the Automated Ticketing System”.

Ironically, the project, announced in July 2009 with a slated completion date of eighteen (18) months, happens to be in January 2011, which makes the news of a renewed push to target male drivers, the main participants in Road and Traffic Fatalities appeared planned as per the article ‘Road Safety Unit to target male drivers”, published Tuesday, January 04, 2011, Go-Jamaica interesting and newsworthy.

Fixing the roads damaged by “bad gyal” Tropical Storm Nicole would also help using JDIP funds a la the excellent suggestion by the PNP (People’s National Party), as per the article “Hefty repair bill”, published Monday October 4, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Thus, do not be surprised that in the coming weeks, the NRCS announces Automated Electronic Traffic Ticketing System as per the article above as a “new initiative” to tackle Road and Traffic Fatalities, as if Jamaicans do not read newspapers!

Even stranger is the fact that the same JATOO which are opposed to the new Transport center arrangements, was adamant over the Christmas period for drivers to drive more carefully on the roads, to the point of launch Operation Safe Ride, which I suspect the Road Safety Unit is cribbing their idea as per the article “Taxi, Bus Operators concerned about Road Deaths”, published Monday, December 13, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Thus JATOO’s opposition to this attempt to re-organize JATOO into a more effective, efficient and organized Private Transport entity is strange, especially as the Transport Facility was built for them using Taxpayers money to make commuting more comfortable and safer for passengers.

Must I, John Public, a regular user of public Transport, assume that money is JATOO’s primary aim with the safety of passengers and people traveling on the road a distant second place?

If so, their words during the Christmas 2010 holiday contradicts their intended boycott of their being moved to the new Transport arrangement and will only earn them crocodile tears from the Ministry of Transport and Works and its Public Sector arm, the NRCS and the Road Traffic Unit, Babylon By Bus style.

Strange, as Jamaicans, emulating all that is in “fareign”, are still disorganized creatures by nature, treating Bus and Taxi passengers akin to sardines. People in the US of A, I envy thee for one more thing: Your railway system, referred to as the Metro or Subway [America Colloquial] or the Underground or Tube [Great Britain Colloquial]. Just can’t wait for it to resume…..

More as this situation develops, folks, especially when Automated Electronic Traffic Ticketing System, the new bus arrangements come on stream officially, construction begins on the Vernamfield Aerodrome and our roads are finally fixed as Jamaica attempts to tackle our Road and Traffic Accident nightmare. This is an International problem solvable via technology, a now ghastly three hundred plus (300 +) death toll strong since 2010AD.

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