Vendors capture bus stops ...Commuters left to the mercy of rain, sun
At the bus stop in front of Mandela Park in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, a vendor stood behind his stall with peanuts and natural juice. The bus shed that is supposed to keep off the pelting Jamaican sun, and the occasional rain in the rainy months, is providing shade for him and his goods.
Passengers waiting to board buses to Cross Roads and downtown Kingston crammed under the available sheds, some out in the drizzling rain last Friday.
That same morning along Lyndhurst Road, another vendor sprawled his goods across a bus shed there pineapples, coconuts and oranges decorated his stall.
He skilfully peeled a pineapple and chucked the skin in a make-shift rubbish bin. Two passengers stood outside the shed, waiting on a taxi.
At Cross Roads the scene was similar, and such was the case at many other bus stops across the Corporate Area.
The peanut vendor at Half-Way Tree, who is from St Elizabeth, told THE STAR that he has been there for 10 years.
"I go home on the weekends and come back on Mondays," the vendor said.
"Every now and then the police ask us to move, or we will hear about a raid and we move," the peanut vendor said.
He explained that the business is not lucrative but it provides a means to an end.
"I have two kids, so I have to do something. It pays the bills," the peanut vendor said.
"Dem give those stalls [pointing to the Digicel stalls along Old Hope Road before the Clock Tower] to de people who were here long before me."
Desmond Francis, who sells under a Pepsi-sponsored bus stop at Cross Roads, said that he and other vendors vacate the bus shed whenever it gets crowded.
"A we a keep it clean. Even though di woman dem come in the morning, dat cyah keep it clean fi the entire day. When dem waan sit we gi dem seat," Francis said.
One commuter, Sandra Simpson, who stood near the Cross Roads bus stop, said she avoids using it.
"I don't really go under them because of the language, the bad word dem, and they are not people waiting on bus," Simpson said.
When THE STAR contacted Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke, she said she was not aware that vendors had taken over several bus stops and have left commuters to the mercy of the elements.
"Give me some time to get up to speed with that. I wasn't aware of that," Brown Burke said.