Gov’t to establish regulatory framework for ride-sharing services

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The government is moving to establish a regulatory framework to accommodate ride-hailing services in a manner that best serves the public interest.

Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport Minister, Daryl Vaz, disclosed during a recent press conference at the ministry’s Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) location.

He said that the framework to be developed will clarify the government’s policy position on the inclusion of ride-hailing operations as a feature of public transportation in Jamaica.

It will address issues such as fit and proper status for operation, types of vehicles, licence categories, requirements for appropriate liability insurance, conformance to the government-approved fare structure, and strict adherence to measures mandated by the authorities to ensure the safety of passengers and operators.

Pending the development of the legal framework, measures will be implemented to address public safety issues.

These include that locally owned and operated ride-hailing apps that engage only drivers and vehicles that are public passenger vehicle (PPV)-certified and authorised by the Transport Authority (TA) and the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) will continue to operate and be monitored by the TA.

In the case of internationally operated ride-hailing apps, the recommendation is for owners and operators to be required to establish a business presence with registered offices in Jamaica and formally engage the TA.

The entity will ensure that only drivers and vehicles certified and approved to operate in the public transportation sector are allowed to register and access their apps until a comprehensive framework is put in place.

Another item for consideration is the issue of undercutting the rate structures set by the TA for certain types of public transportation by ride-sharing app companies, which puts Jamaican transport operators at a distinct disadvantage.

“It is about fairness. It is about observing the government of Jamaica’s regulatory framework as it relates to fares and other such requirements that thousands of Jamaicans in the transport sector have to do every year,” Vaz said. .

“These ride-sharing companies bypass that and are in a much more competitive position than the local industry players,” he pointed out.