Transport syndicate gives GAM until year-end for subsidy payout

(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Syndicate of Owners of Taxi Offices, Internal and External Travel, and Driving Training Centers has decided to wait until the end of 2022 for the public transportation subsidy to be disbursed in the capital since the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has claimed it does not currently have the budget to provide the funds.اضافة اعلان

For months, the syndicate has been requesting that the municipality hand out the promised subsidy, which has already been disbursed in other governorates, to no avail. Now, it has given GAM until the end of the year to pay it out.

Head of the syndicate, Ahmed Abu Haidar, told Jordan News: “GAM has not refused to disburse the subsidy, so we are still waiting for approval on the syndicate’s request for it to be disbursed by the end of the year.”

The syndicate “will not escalate the matter, given that the government can find other solutions if GAM is not able to disburse the public transportation subsidy,” he asserted.

In a meeting of syndicate representatives and the GAM committees responsible for the subsidy, the latter proposed either raising public transportation fares or providing direct subsidies to vehicle owners.

Syndicate Vice President Mohammad Al-Hadid told Jordan News: “The syndicate has refused both of these suggestions, as they will not address the problem, but rather, worsen it.”

He explained that a hike in fares would cause people to avoid taking public transportation, resorting to ride-sharing applications instead. Furthermore, “if the subsidy is only disbursed to public transport operators, then the drivers will not receive anything.”

The public transportation subsidy has been disbursed in all of the Kingdom’s governorates except for Amman and Aqaba, Hadid noted.

Public transportation in Amman is handled by GAM, while the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority is responsible for the sector in Aqaba, he said. Public transportation in other governorates is overseen by the Land Transport Regulatory Commission.

The vice president suggested that all these entities work together “in order to issue the same decisions for all those operating in the sector across the Kingdom”.

He added that going on strike would be the sector’s only alternative if the syndicate’s demands were not met by the end of the year. “The syndicate has taken all the necessary measures, and it will not intervene in any escalations,” Hadid said.

Hadid questioned why GAM has not disbursed the money, given the existence of a transport fund towards which each public transportation vehicle in Amman pays up to JD200 annually.

The syndicate is “trying its best” to ensure that the subsidy goes, not to operators, but drivers via bank transfers or gas vouchers, he said.

In September, GAM spokesman Nasser Rahamneh said that the syndicate’s request is “still being studied”.

“When the decision is official, GAM will announce it immediately,” he said.

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