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Jamaica announced a 15% increase in bus and taxi fares amidst COVID-19

The Transport and Minining Ministry Authority in Jamaica has announced a 15 per cent fare increase in bus and taxi fares, effective Monday, August 16, 2021.

However, there will be no change to the fares on Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and the Montego Bay Metro buses. In addition, the rate for the elderly, the disabled and children will remain at 50 per cent of the adult fare.

The Ministry, in a press release statement said on Thursday that based on consultations with the Ministry of Finance, the fare increase will affect national inflation by one per cent.

“Cabinet noted the situation, reviewed the requests, along with the economic impact of the pandemic on the general public and the resultant effect of the rate of inflation, and sought to find a solution,” the Ministry disclosed; adding that, “it is believed that this adjustment, after eight years, created the right balance for all parties.”

The Ministry warned operators that “no additional fares should be charged, stressing that the Transport Authority will be working steadfast in ensuring this is monitored and maintained”.

In its statement, the Ministry further outlined several initiatives which should be undertaken to improve the transportation sector which, according to the Ministry, will “improve service delivery”.

“The Transport Authority and the Ministry, along with National Council of Taxi Associations (NCOTA), have engaged the taxi associations to help rid the sector of ‘bad eggs’, by providing extensive customer service training for operators,” the press release further stated.

”Additionally, the recent staging of the Transport Stakeholders Conference, the establishment of a hotline to report deviant behaviour which may result in the cancellation and suspension of road licences and badges; the introduction of technologies to assist with ride-sharing; along with the ministry and the authority’s part sponsorship of the Blue Ribbon First Responders Training Programme, an initiative spearheaded by the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS), have all been used as means to transform the sector,” the statement continued.

“While these improvements may be considered small steps, they are steps in the right direction and the ministry remains dedicated to putting in the work to make a transformation,” added the statement.

“Amendments to the Transport Authority Act are far advanced, as well as the regulations to the Road Traffic Act, 2018,” the Ministry stated.

Members of the public are encouraged to report overcharging to the Transport Authority at 888-991-5687 or Whatsapp 876-551-8196.

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