Posts Tagged Jamaica Transport Authority

Inspectors must seize 10 vehicles daily

But Transport Authority says policy not designed to make money
BY Paul Henry, Observer staff reporter henryp@jamaicaobserver.com
Monday, August 24, 2009

Transport Authority boss Daniel Dawes has confirmed a suspicion, long held by taxi and bus operators, that each team of inspectors dispatched by the authority is given a directive to seize a total of 10 motor vehicles per day.

But although the policy reportedly earned the State in excess of $200 million in storage fees from the Kingston Metropolitan Region alone last year, Dawes insisted that it was not designed to make money.

A seized taxi sits on the back of this flatbed as police and Transport Authority inspectors conduct an operation outside the Half-Way-Tree Transportation Centre in Kingston last Thursday. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

A seized taxi sits on the back of this flatbed as police and Transport Authority inspectors conduct an operation outside the Half-Way-Tree Transportation Centre in Kingston last Thursday. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

The purpose of the quota system, he told the Observer last Thursday, is to “enhance” the performance of the agency’s inspectors and catch persons operating their vehicles contrary to the terms and conditions of their licences.

“We call it performance indicators,” said Dawes. “We have an array of activities that the officers are asked to carry out, and as such, we use measuring tools like seizures, prosecutions, covert operations. So, yes, we have measures by which we expect our officers to perform.”

Dawes’ disclosure came as a result of queries from the Observer in response to consistent complaints from taxi and bus operators that they have had to contend with the overly aggressive inspectors, whom they believe were being used to generate funds for the State.

However, Dawes, in denying the claim, pointed to the large number of people who are operating public transport illegally.

“We know, for example, that there are over 12,000 illegal [taxi and bus] operators out there,” he said. “We know that there are almost 6,000 persons who have not come in to renew their licence. It’s not like we are working in a vacuum; our decisions are made on what is out there.”

Dawes could not immediately confirm the amount of money made last year as a result of vehicles being seized. However, Garth E Lyttle, the attorney for a number of associations that represent taxi and bus operators, calculated the figure at just over $200 million.

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