Bus drivers shun new highway
“Too expensive!” That was the general sentiment from bus operators who spoke with THE STAR about the proposed toll rates for the North-South link of Highway 2000 announced by the Toll Authority (TA) on Wednesday.
According to the TA, motorists who wish to drive on the highway, which runs from Caymanas in St Catherine to Ocho Rios and Mammee Bay, St Ann, might have to fork out as much as $3,700 at toll booths.
Although he has been enjoying the 66 kilometre highway to Kingston free of cost, Rickey Brown, who has been carrying passengers between Ocho Rios and Kingston for the past 20 years, said the rates are impractical for his business.
“If them keep it [toll rates] so dear and me have to pay go up and come down, by the end of the day, me nah go have no money,” Brown said.
Montego Bay to Kingston coaster bus operator, Leon ‘Jack’ Wilson admits that he loves the convenience the highway brings, but the exorbitant rates will force motorists to take the original route.
“It is way too expensive! It’s not feasible to pay that much. I’ll just choose a section that suits me and pay the toll there,” Wilson said.
Howard Jones, a fellow Montego Bay to Kingston coater bus operator, told THE STAR he was appalled at the proposed rates, and will be refraining from the route when rates come into effect.
“That would be over $7,000 for the day. That’s too high. My belief is that if them charge less than $3,700 then they will have more people using the road and it would make more money for them that way or even more than they expect to make,” Jones said.
The TA said members of the public have until next Monday to submit in writing their views on the proposed toll charges for different legs of the highway.