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BY BALFORD HENRY
Observer senior reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 24, 2020

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THE Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) says that all passengers are now required to wear their own protective masks when boarding the buses.

The move is in response to a recent decision by the Government that wearing a mask in public spaces is now mandatory.

The advisory was issued on Wednesday, following a directive from Prime Minister Andrew Holness which has been gazetted. “Passengers who fail to wear a facial barrier will not be allowed entry on [the] buses.

This requirement takes immediate effect, and is to ensure the comfort, safety, and well-being of each passenger and our staff,” said the statement from the JUTC.

The bus company also reminding passengers to respect the personal space of others, observe social distancing as required, and comply with other safety measures as announced.

It also reminded commuters that passengers will only be carried between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm daily, in keeping with the latest restrictions announced by the Government. For JUTC routes into upper St Andrew, including 52, 53, 54, and 61, the last runs will be at 4:30 pm daily. For all other routes, the last available bus will be at 5:00 pm. Buses will return to the depots between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm without passengers.

In the meantime, Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague, said recently that steps are being taken to ensure continued movement of the public transport sector, particularly regarding public-passenger vehicles (PPVs) and commercial carriers. Montague, in a statement to the House of Representatives, also announced that: (1) The deadline for submission of PPV road licence and commercial carriers' applications has been extended to May 29, 2020, once applications are made online.

Late fees for online renewals will also be waived up to this time but not for in-office renewal; (2) Additionally, new road licence applicants will be allowed up to six months (by October 14, 2020) to submit police records. Police records for renewal of badges have also been waived this year. Montague said that they will only be applicable to people who apply on the Transport Authority's online application portal at www. ta.org.jm.

To access the online application portal, customers must have an active e-mail account and either credit, visa debit or prepaid credit cards to make payment. Similarly, new and renewal route taxi licence applications will not attract any late fees up to May 29, 2020.

These applications must however be done through any of the approved route taxi associations. He explained that, for this period only, associations can carry in renewal applications from non-members.

This will allow individuals who do not have online access or a credit/debit card, to have their licences renewed. For example, a route taxi association, can do renewal for rural stage, hackney, or stage carriage. Hackney carriage companies are allowed to carry the road licences in bulk.

“To be clear, if you renew online, no late fee: If you go through an association, even if you do not belong to it, no late fee. But, if you come in to the office without an appointment for PPV or commercial licence renewal a late fee of $10,000 will be charged,” he said.

The minister said that people requiring support with their online application, may contact the Transport Authority's Customer Centre at 1-888-991-5687, during the hours 8:30 am to 3:00 pm daily, and where necessary the customer care representative will recommend an appointment in office.

Individuals without an appointment, who attend the authority's offices for these services, will attract a penalty of $10,000. Operators requiring support with their online application may contact the authority's customer centre at 1-888- 991-5687 during the hours 8:30 am to 3:00 pm daily and, where necessary, the customer care representative will recommend an appointment in office.


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