Minister Mike Henry was the guest speaker at the 22nd awards ceremony of the Transport Authority held on Friday, July 31, 2009 at the Hilton Hotel.

The Transport Authority was set up in 1987 with the broad mandate of the licensing of  participants in the public transportation system as well as regulating the operations of said participants. Over the years the Authority has done much to observe these two main areas of focus.

Speaking at the Awards ceremony on July 31, Minister Henry said, “It is a very interesting point of the Transport Authority’s history that we are marking tonight. It is a time when broad changes are on the horizon for the public transportation sector, with order and integration being the hallmarks of the multi-modal transport policy that is coming on stream”.

In making a case for an improved transportation system, the Minister noted that the integrated multi-modal system should be able to address the seemingly disjointed scenario which now exists.

“For way too long we have had taxi and bus operators fighting tooth and nail for the same passengers, when in fact they should be providing complementary services, with the buses supplying the taxis with passengers, and of course the same to be applicable to the trains once they get back on track,” he said.

“With proper integration under the multi-modal policy being rolled out, a commuter leaving rural Jamaica for the Norman Manley International Airport, for example, should be able to do so in comfort and on a timely basis through a combination of say a taxi to the train station, a ride by rail into Kingston, then a bus transfer from Pechon Street to the downtown Transport Centre, then via a JUTC bus to the airport. Under such orderly arrangements there will be far more people using the public passenger service, and far more commuters to share among the thousands of passenger service operators,” Minister Henry continued.

In speaking to the future of the Transport Authority, Minister Henry highlighted the fact that the entity’s overall success in both its licensing and regulatory roles will largely determine the success which will re-align and efficiently streamline the public passenger vehicle sector.

“Therefore, in celebrating 22 years of growth and development, the Authority should be mindful of the awesome task ahead and the broad responsibilities that will come with them,” the Minister added.

Several persons, including past Ministers, Ministers of State, Managing Directors associated with the Transport Authority were honoured for their contribution to the entity.