The Urban Development Corporation (UDC), along with the Kingston and Saint Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and the Transport Authority have partnered with key government stakeholders and representatives in the transportation sector to finalize new public transportation arrangements for downtown Kingston.
A joint team from the UDC, Transport Authority, Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, the Police and Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) met with key representatives of the Hackney and Route Carriage Associations on November 23 and 24, 2010 and also with sub-licence Franchise Holders and Rural Stage Carriage operators on November 30 and December 1, 2010 respectively at the Jamaica Conference Centre.
The consultations focused on sharing proposals for the new route descriptions which will affect the transport operators and commuters. Subsequently, caucus meetings were held with these groups to further refine the proposals and finalise best measures.
The following was agreed upon as the designated terminal points for public passenger vehicles operating in downtown Kingston:
Rural Buses plying routes from St. Mary, St. Thomas and Portland will terminate in Terminal 1 on Water Lane, while sub-licence operators of the JUTC will terminate in the Pechon Street facility which will be upgraded to facilitate the new arrangements.
Route Taxis will now terminate in Taxi Park 1 on Water Lane and Hackney Carriages will use designated stands at six locations as follows-
- Lay-by at North Parade
- Lay-by at South Parade
- Lay-by at the intersection of King Street and Barry Street (General Post Office)
- King Street and Tower Street (near BNS)
- Darling Street/Ebenezer (close to the market district).
- Pechon Street
All JUTC buses will now operate out of North and South Parade. JUTC will offer a free shuttle buses service linking parade and the Downtown Transportation Facility along with Pechon Street terminus by travelling along major routes. This system will operate between the hours of 5am and 11pm on a daily basis. Commuters are guaranteed a waiting period of no more than four minutes during peak hours and six to eight minutes in off peak hours.
The new transportation arrangements are being finalised ahead of major redevelopments ongoing in downtown Kingston, such as the construction of the Digicel corporate headquarters on the Kingston Waterfront. This is complemented by tremendous interest in the acquisition of properties in the area with major conglomerates already implementing plans for locating their headquarters in the area.
The redevelopment of downtown Kingston, which supports the government’s National Vision 2030 plan, envisages the works being implemented up to 2018 in four phases. Phase 1 has already seen the construction of a bus park, one component of a multimodal transportation centre, upgrading of the St. William Grant Park and improvement to the market district.
Plans for Phase 2 include the realization of what is dubbed “Festival Marketplace”, upgrading of the Kingston Waterfront, renovation to the Oceana Hotel and improved Jamaica Conference Centre facilities. In Phase 3, the UDC intends to focus on creation of a Justice Square at the Supreme Court on King Street, and development of the Ward Theatre Cultural Square. The final phase of the project will see the construction of a railway museum and establishment of a Trade Centre in line with plans to establish downtown Kingston as a viable financial district.
At the end of the current phased project, it is intended that downtown Kingston will see improvements in the physical landscape, a redefined capital, improved physical and social infrastructure and increased economic activity.
According to Lenworth Tracey, deputy general manager, Economic Relations and Corporate Relations at the UDC, “we are encouraged by what is quickly developing into a significant momentum of private sector interest and investment activity in downtown Kingston. Continuing, he notes, improved public transportation arrangements is a critical component in the furtherance of these developmental objective of the UDC”.