Calls getting louder for long promised Moneague transport centreWednesday, November 03, 2021
BY HORACE MILLS
MONEAGUE, St Ann — Taxi operators and commuters are increasing their calls for the authorities to fast-track plans to build a transportation centre in this developing town, where land has already been earmarked for construction of the hub.
According to those making the calls, the transportation centre would lessen friction between police and taxi operators, as well as curb congestion and dangerous parking along the four-way intersection located on the Moneague town bypass.
The intersection is often congested by taxis operating from Moneague to places such as Ocho Rios, Claremont, and Riverhead — all in St Ann — and Linstead in St Catherine.
The taxis going to Linstead pose a danger as they are parked on a narrow sidewalk in a corner of the intersection. Another potential danger arises from the blocking of the pedestrian crossing as taxi operators pick up and drop off passengers.
The illegal parking is not only risky for motorists and commuters; it also poses a challenge for hundreds of Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) recruits who jog in the area.
John Rose, better known as Rasta, who has been selling fruits at the intersection for years, is blaming the parking woes for a two-vehicle crash in the area on October 20.
“The transport centre would really be essential rather than [having] the taxi operators parking on the road,” Rose told the Jamaica Observer.
The taxi drivers said they, too, are not happy with breaking the law. However, they argued that they have no choice, considering that there is no designated area for them to park.
“Wi really want the [transportation] centre up here because wi nuh have nowhere fi park. If wi park here [at the intersection] and the police come, wi inna problem. Wi haffi a run up and down. Wi can't bother with that any more,” said Devon Fagan, who has been driving a taxi in the area for more than 20 years.
He admitted to being ticketed by the police for parking. “Nuff time mi haffi jump inna mi car and drive weh [to escape being ticketed],” added Fagan.
His colleague, Leon Campbell, better known as G10, who operates on the Moneague to Ocho Rios route, amplified the call for the transportation centre.
“Wi need it because the pedestrian crossing a block up every minute [due to illegal parking],” said Campbell.
A commuter, Brodie Welch, reasoned that the authorities should not only build a transportation centre, but should also put a stoplight at the intersection.
Last month, Member of Parliament for St Ann South Eastern, where Moneague is located, Lisa Hanna, visited the intersection and the proposed site for the transportation centre.
She was accompanied by other officials, including chairman of the St Ann Municipal Corporation Sydney Stewart.
“After one year of dialogue, the St Ann Municipal Corporation has agreed to enter into a joint venture with me to build the Moneague Transportation Centre on a phased basis,” Hanna said in a social media post.
She did not give a timeline, and efforts to contact Hanna and Stewart about the planned project were unsuccessful up to press time.
Martin Lawrence, a commuter, said the transportation centre cannot come too soon.
“When they [elected officials] promise something, they should push it on,” said Lawrence. “Taxi man have it hard like everybody else and these things [illegal parking] just call down the police on them and sometimes the police don't have any leniency.”
The taxi operators were promised the transportation centre years ago, Moneague resident Gad Bailey noted.
He argued that the proposed site, located beside the four-way intersection, is ideal.
“Right where they promise to build it would be the ideal place,” he told the Observer, as he argued that the Moneague town centre is already too congested to accommodate the facility.
Bailey reasoned that the land already identified for construction of the transportation centre is easily accessible in relation to the Moneague Housing Scheme, Moneague College, and the JDF Moneague Training Camp.
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