Columns

Proper oversight needed to solve traffic problems

BY Carlton A Gordon

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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Jamaica's public transportation system continues to be a source of anger and frustration for many, especially across Kingston and St Andrew. This was highlighted again recently by a current video circulating on social media, featuring a screaming female passenger in a vehicle operated by an apparently illegal taxi man fleeing from a chasing police officer on a motorbike.

Transport Minister Robert Montague, the police, Island Traffic Authority, and the Transport Authority are increasingly being called upon by talk show hosts and other members of the public to “solve the problems” of rampant disorder, reckless driving by taxi operators and others, indiscipline, and public endangerment, along with parallel inefficient management of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, etc.

Clearly, solving these problems is not as simple as it may appear to some, especially as so many people benefit by way of “eating a food” from the status quo, including members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and others who own taxis and minibuses.

But here's the least that should be done by the authorities and members of the public if we seriously desire to see lasting, positive change in this area.

(1) The inside lanes around the transport centre at Half-Way-Tree, around Mandela Park, and similar places in Kingston and elsewhere should be reserved and marked for taxis and similar public passenger vehicles to line up, somewhat like taxis at international airports around the world, with designated pick-up points for passengers along the way. Lanes outside these designated lanes would then be free for other vehicles to move along, whether in one-way or two-way style.

(2) It must be recognised and accepted that even in well-run societies, much less a place like Jamaica, nothing that is done, or that should be done, by employees or other responsible individuals gets done consistently well without effective oversight or supervision.

(3) Whether they own taxis or not, the police force, with its various divisions, must be organised and held accountable to function professionally, with units and/or individuals responsible for ensuring effective management and control of the functions and objectives in every area, which must include people and traffic management.

It is also important for us all to recognise that, individually and collectively, we have primary oversight and supervisory responsibility, first to do our own jobs well, and then to help ensure that others carry out their own responsibilities diligently, fairly, and as professionally as possible.

So, let's help the prime minister, police commissioner, and all ministries, agencies and responsible individuals to do their jobs well by assisting them to remember the constant need for effective oversight and supervision in every area, department, company, or ministry in order for things to run well, and to be done decently and in order, anywhere and everywhere.

carltongor@gmail.com


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