KINGSTON, Jamaica: Opposition Spokesman on Transport, Mikael Phillips, says “the Minister of Transport, Hon. Robert Montague, must better explain the entry of Uber transport services in Jamaica and end the widespread confusion among transport operators and the commuting public”.
Phillips notes that public transport services are highly regulated in Jamaica through the Road Traffic Act and the Transport Authority Act. He highlighted that any corporate body or individual providing such services must obtain the relevant licenses from the Transport Authority (TA) before commencing operations. The mechanism to protect our citizens requires that a TA Road License be acquired for a specific transport service. A special “L” Form” from the Island Traffic Authority, approving aesthetics and safety, and an operator’s badge, must also be issued by the TA. As such, the Minister must categorically state if these regulations are applicable to Uber.
The Opposition is aware that Uber itself does not own vehicles but operates the technology platform which drivers utilize. While he has no objection to Uber or any other company providing services to improve public transport in Jamaica, the necessary safeguards must be put in place. The Minister must therefore explain how the Uber service escaped regulatory oversight in its start-up of operations.
Phillips underscored that the effectiveness of the Transport Authority as the main regulator needs to be examined. He noted that there are long-standing enforcement issues in the country in general which must be addressed.