The police have promised to bring to the attention of the Transport Authority, an anomaly that is forcing some people in the Pennington area of Lluidas Vale, St Catherine, to operate illegal taxis.
They are doing so because the Authority does not recognize the stretch of roadway between Pennington and Lluidas Vale town centre as a taxi route. Without it being so recognized, taxis cannot legally operate there.
The situation has left Pennington residents – including children and the elderly – with no option but to use illegal taxis or to walk some three miles to and from Lluidas Vale town.
Corporal Yvette White Vassell from the Shady Grove Police Station in Lluidas Vale noted that, during police clampdowns, the situation becomes onerous especially for students heading to school in the mornings.
“I am going to talk with somebody at Transport Authority because it is very difficult; sometimes the kids suffer in the mornings to reach school,” Corporal Vassell said during a public meeting, which the Shady Grove Police hosted in Pennington on Sunday evening, March 31.
Her view was shared by a member of the community, Dennis Wright, who was the first to raise the issue in the meeting. “They (illegal taxi operators) have to help out the kids, especially in the mornings when they are going to school,” he declared.
Corporal Vassell, in the meantime, said the illegal taxi operators are willing to become regularized, but the Transport Authority would first have to establish the route. She stated that residents of another neighbouring community, Tydixon, are caught in the same dilemma whenever they have to travel to Lluidas Vale town centre.
“People are willing to get their red plates, and they are willing to obey the rule, but there is no route,” Corporal Vassell asserted. “Persons are asking what we the police can do through Transport Authority to find out when they open up road license for May if there is anything that can be done.”
In the meantime, Inspector Ishmael Williams, who also attended the public meeting, underscored the danger in having illegal taxis on the roads, noting that passengers will not get an insurance payout if they are injured while travelling in illegal taxis. He however promised to intervene with an intention to have the underlying issue addressed through the Transport Authority.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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