Funding in place to renovate Falmouth transport hub – Jamaica Observer
GORDON…it will work but everyone must enter the park. They can’t force some people into the park and some people out of it, that can’t work (Pictures: Philp Lemonte)
FALMOUTH,Trelawny – To remedy the horrific traffic jam on Tharpe Street in historic Falmouth, the Trelawny Municipal Corporation (TMC) will spend approximately $9 million on a renovation project for the dilapidated Tharpe Street car park.
Falmouth Mayor and Chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation (TMC), Councilor C Junior Gager, said funding is already in place for the restoration and the project is expected to start soon.
We have the funding in place and it will be approximately $8.9 million to $9 million; we met with the police and port authority and all stakeholders but unfortunately the taxi association did not show up for this meeting. The Transport Authority had another meeting and apologised. So we will have another outreach meeting where we will discuss and hear feedback,” Gager said.
Taxi operators, due to load at the facility after the refurbishment exercise, are those plying the routes of St Ann, Duncans, Clark’s Town, Florence Hall, Daniel Town, southern parts of Trelawny and other communities , in Falmouth.
The Mayor of Falmouth said the scope of work includes paving the grounds of the facility, replacing toilets and plumbing fixtures, painting sidewalks and installing electrical connections, among other things.
“We’re going to furnish the restrooms, make sure the sidewalks along the road are painted, put in the necessary fixtures such as lighting…anything that would run a park and even do some paving,” Gager told the Western Observer.
Coastal Transportation Association president Hopeton Gordon says success in operating from the modernized transport hub will depend on law enforcement efforts by police to ensure registered taxi drivers operate from inside the facility, their unlicensed counterparts will not operate freely outside.
“It will work, but everyone has to enter the park. They can’t force some people into the park and some people out of it, that can’t work. Every taxi driver should get in there, but when you have a taxi driver inside and the robots are just charging on the road, it’s unfair,” Gordon said. “How are the people inside the bullpen going to get by when they have extra bills to pay, they have a driver’s license to pay, they have bigger insurance and other fees to pay? It’s not easy!”
Superintendent Carlos Russell, Commanding Officer of Trelawny Police Division, assured that at the end of the refurbishment exercise, police will adopt a zero tolerance approach towards taxi drivers who refuse to operate outside of the establishment.
He noted that in a recent meeting with TMC, police and representatives from the Port Authority of Jamaica, operators of Falmouth Port, one of the issues discussed was Gordon’s concerns.
“That was one of the discussions we had. The first thing is for the municipal corporation to renovate the place and put it back in a state where it’s in good condition. They have to fix the place first , that’s number one,” Superintendent Russell said.
“Secondly, we had asked them (TMC) to organize another meeting which would include the members of the taxi association, all the stakeholders, so that we could have this discussion with them to let them know where we are going, what we’re going to use this area as a transportation hub I was told that was already released so it’s just up to them now to have the discussion and decide when we’re going to start and then we’ll start the app at from there.
Gordon explained that he had not received the invitation for the first meeting until the eleventh hour and that he had not been able to do so because he had a prior commitment. He did, however, confirm that provided he receives sufficient notice, he will be present at the next meeting, unless it is not on a Monday or Wednesday when he is usually unavailable.
“If it’s a Monday or Wednesday, I won’t be available. But if I know about the meeting, I plan to do it on other days of the week,” the transport association official said.