Waning support as taxi operators go on strike

February 06, 2023
Photo by Kenyon Hemans

A planned three day strike by taxi operators got off to a rocky start this morning, as many operators were vocal about not taking part in the initiative. 

 It was business as usual for most taxi operators in the Kingston and St Andrew Metropolitan Area on Monday morning , as they transported the hundreds of commuters that depend on their services. 

"Mi nah strike cause mi nuh know weh mi a strike fa," one taxi operator declared. 

Laws in the New Road Traffic Act has been the source of much grievance for many operators, primarily the increase in fines for breaches. 

A windward route taxi man who says he has been operating for 20 years told The Gleaner that he does not believe the strike will do much to change anything. 

"Dat nah benefit mi, it nuh effective. Dem nah listen wi, everytime mi strike, today mi decide seh mi nuh inna no striking ting cause it nah benefit mi," he said. 

While ruing what he described as the disorganisation of the strike, a taxi owner who requested anonymity says taxi strikes has become customary and the method needs to change. 

"Ya fi go protest and block di road and do all a dem tings deh, den you have somebody fi come and talk to you. Dats the only ting mi see. That's the only thing weh work inna Jamaica," he said. 

Don't supporting the unruliness. 

Another taxi operator says he refused to support what he described as the "unruliness" of his colleagues.

"From 2018, I don't get a ticket, because I follow do rules of the road. If you follow do rules a di road you don't supposed to get no ticket. And if you get a ticket you have two choice- if you guilty a di ticket you go and pay it a tax office, and if you not guilty you go to court and contest it. Dem get dis heap a ticket and pile up and dem doh go court and dem doh pay it. Dem very unruly," he said.

Meanwhile Lorraine Oscar Finnikin, director of communications at the One Voice Transportation Group believes the protest action was unsuccessful because other organisations undermined it. 

"There are other leaders in the sectors that have been out yesterday in meetings advising the operators not to go on strike because they are batting in their behalf with the government," he said. 

Stating that taxi operators in Spanish Town, Brown's Town, and Sections of Ocho Rios, have withdrawn their services, Finnikin says he expects the number to pick up as the day progresses, and will continue over the three day period.

"We at One Voice are strongly of the opinion that as the day progress the withdrawal of service will develop and it is not just for one day, we going minimum three days," he said.

-Sashana Small 

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