Transport Minister Chides Opposition over ‘Politicizing Transport’

Transport Minister, Robert Montague is blasting his Opposition counterpart, Mikael Phillips, for what he’s describing as his politicizing of issues affecting the sector.

Minister Montague says there’s been no increase in fares from taxi operators or from the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, JUTC.

There has been anxiety in the transport sector in recent days that fares have been unlawfully increased by some taxi operators fueled largely by the record high petrol prices that hit the pumps last week.

At that time, Opposition Spokesman on Transport, Mikael Phillips, said it was his information that taxi operators were increasing their fares.

Mr. Phillips says in some cases those fares have doubled. But, today, Minister Montague flatly denied those claims.

Minister Montague also pointed to what he says is the more than USD$3-billion the country has in reserves as evidence that there’s no need to contemplate a fare increase at the State-owned bus company due to the fluctuations in the dollar.

He says the acting Energy Minister has asked for a review of the calculations used to determine the State-owned bus company’s fuel bill.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the JUTC, Paul Abrahams, is dismissing suggestions that the bus company can’t afford to pay its fuel bill.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the JUTC, Paul Abrahams, says eight people are still in hospital after one of the company’s buses veered off the road in St. Ann on Sunday.

The accident took place in Moneague in the parish as the bus was returning from a staff retreat.

At least 29 people were reportedly involved in the incident.

Mr. Abrahams says he’ll be speaking with the Transport Minister about transferring those still in hospital to Kingston to continue their treatment.

The driver of the bus reportedly fled the scene of the incident.

Mr. Abrahams says his office has requested an accident report on the incident. He says the driver will also speak with the police.

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