Transport Minister blames possible miscommunication for transport strike

Transport Minister Daryl Vaz
By Nakinskie Robinson/Prince Moore   
Transport Minister Daryl Vaz says miscommunication between public transport operators and stakeholders may have caused Monday's protest action.
Public transport operators are disgruntled over the impending demerit points system under the Road Traffic Act under review, which they have described as unreasonable.
The major service withdrawal by bus and taxi operators across the island left students and professionals stranded.
Minister Vaz expressed confusion as to why the action was taken despite a definitive statement being made last week, that there would be a meeting on Tuesday to address their concerns.
Mr. Vaz said there may also be other reasons behind the demonstrations. 
"I can only conclude that it is either politically motivated, or it is a lack of communication getting down from the taxi organisations, associations, to the actual drivers. I want to believe that it is a situation where it's a communication situation. However, at this point, I will continue to watch through the day." 
He called for "good sense to prevail", reiterating that the operators' concerns will be addressed at a meeting on Tuesday and will be part of the review of the Road Traffic Act, which ends at the end of June.
Noting that the strike action was premature and uncalled for, Mr. Vaz urged the transport operators to "get back on the job and allow the process to take its place" so there is no further inconvenience to commuters.
"For those who are using it for political reasons, I ask you to desist, especially in relation to the roadblocks that are being mounted using trees and stones and other things. It is totally unnecessary, and I call on you to desist and allow the process of communication, collaboration, and consensus - which is how I operate - to continue, and we will get the desired results," he pleaded. 
The Ministry of Transport has said the withdrawal of service by some public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators had a moderate impact on the Jamaican transport sector and road environment.
The Ministry said withdrawals primarily encompass taxis and Coasters bus operators, with notable effects felt in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region and surrounding areas.
It said areas mostly affected by the withdrawal include Lawrence Tavern, Stony Hill, Spanish Town, downtown Kingston, and Half Way Tree.
There were also reports of blockages in St. Elizabeth, specifically in Malvern.

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