Commuters angry about fare increase
Commuters who ply the Half-Way Tree to Red Hills Road and Whitehall area in St Andrew have expressed their anger at taxi men who have increased the fares for children in the mornings.
One mother, Kerry, told THE STAR that from earlier this year, the men wanted to charge double fare for children, however, it was not enforced.
Now they have decided that if children do not pay the $100 fare in the mornings, they cannot travel with them.
"When you challenge them about the fare, dem seh to you fi gwaan go tek the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) bus because a $100 dem a charge," she said.
She said because of this, many children choose to take the buses, which don't always come on time. Kerry admitted that in the evenings, the same taxi drivers will take $50 from the students.
She said it is an abuse of power and something that should be monitored by the relevant authorities.
"In the mornings, dem a tell you seh is big people seat dem inna so it is big people fare. Mi did even late fi work because mi end up stand up there for about half an hour. This a slackness because if Government seh a $50 fi fare, then a $50 you fi charge, you can't charge adult fare," she said.
Another woman said she too has experienced the fare increase and reluctantly pays it.
"I caa bada fi a wait, so mi just pay dem the $100 fi mi baby. Mi know a nuh everybody a go can pay it still, what dem a do nuh right," she said.
One taxi driver who identifies himself as 'Strong Man' said taxi business is all about making money.
"It is a money-making game. At the end of the day, we running a business so we have to find a way to make money. Schoolas don't have to take taxi, they can take bus or Coaster," he said.
Corporate Communications Manager at the Transport Authority, Petra-Kene Williams, on the other hand, said there is no regulated route from Half-Way Tree to Red Hills Road or Whitehall.
She said licences are provided to the JUTC for that route and any other services along that route are illegal.
"The JUTC has an exclusive licence to provide route-based services in the KMTR (Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region). The Transport Authority prosecutes those found to be "unlawfully deceiving passengers as to the fare for a journey" Under Regulation 129 (d) of the Road Traffic Regulations," she said.