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Melissa Bonnick Anderson | Could technology be the solution to traffic madness? | Commentary

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Jamaica is a nation of entrepreneurs and this is what makes us so successful and resilient in the face of great odds! The very history of this great nation was woven by people who took enormous risks and ­excelled. Today is no different, as every sector of our economy is better off for the men and women who conceptualise and make things happen at every level.

As I drive around Jamaica, I remain in awe at the demand and supply of transportation. The current system represents a large group of individuals who rise before the crack of dawn to make sure teachers and students, nurses and bank workers, hotel employees and customer service representatives, and a host of other workers and professionals, make it to work and school on time. They are taxi drivers.

The massive demand for transportation has provided lucrative earning opportunities, but the roads have become a maze of congestion and often lawlessness, as a result of innocent motorists and pedestrians being caught up in the melee of taxis trying to make it back and forth on routes in a frenzy to pick up and deliver riders desperately trying to get to their destinations quickly.

Yet, it is imperative that a solution that protects supply and demand is found, while ensuring the safety of all. I believe the answer lies in enlisting a technological solution for the efficient scheduling of demand and appropriation of rides to all drivers.

Simply put, it is a system of matching ­riders to drivers in a manner that allows full utilisation of the current drivers in the system as well as allowing for increased earnings, which will alleviate the need for the racing and recklessness which currently exists. This system will also support our drive to reduce carbon emissions.

THE WAY FORWARD

Technology is the way forward. It is a necessary urgency for government services to research and incorporate technology in the integration of systems and services towards a more efficient customer experience. People need to get things done, and they need to get them done now. Riders need to get from point A to B in a manner of their choosing which is also safe and timely.

I believe now is the time to move Jamaica forward by providing technological solutions to enhance many of the activities which impact our daily existence. The fact that Jamaicans could embrace and defend the need to protect the environment by adhering to the ban on plastic bags and the use of alternative paper products is, in itself, a major accomplishment.

Some 30 years ago, I don’t think we would have opted for drinking from a paper straw and loving it. We have evolved into an ­environmentally friendly and globally conscious people. Our time, which equals money, should not be held hostage by a failed system of transportation. Every person in this country uses technology from one extent to the other. It’s time to allow it to take us to the next level of accomplishment.

Melissa Bonnick Anderson is the general manager of Zyleck Jamaica Limited. Email feedback to melissa.anderson@zyleck.com and columns@gleanerjm.com.

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