Mandeville taxi park overrun by market vendors

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Market produce. Courtesy of Esperanza Doronila

Taxi Operators who use the taxi park in Mandeville Square are being inconvenienced by market vendors.

The taxi park, which is home for routes such as Three Chains, Heartease, Grey Ground, Royal Flat, Comfort, Land Settlement, Hanbury, Ingleside, Kendal, Bombay, Bellefield, Blue Mountain, Davyton and Chantilly, has become a vending ground for many wholesale market vendors.

At the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Manchester Municipal Corporation decided to move wholesale vendors from the Mandeville Market, which is adjacent to the park, to reduce the number of vendors there. However, in an effort to solve the problem of overcrowding, another problem has been created, congestion in the taxi park.

Special District Constable Robert Masters told the Monitor Tribune that a special area in the taxi park has been assigned to wholesale vendors. “We only allow them there on a Wednesday morning from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. That’s the time for the wholesale. After that, we pack them up and the vending should cease from there,” Masters said.

Before the taxi park opens at 7:00 in the mornings, vendors have the opportunity to sell in the area used by the taxis for those two first hours. Once the park opens, the vendors are expected to move to their designated spot for selling. But some vendors continue to sell outside of that area, making it hard for taxi operators to come in and out of the park as well as find parking.

One taxi operator said, “When them a sell, them alright but when them come wid them car and park up all bout, a that a fi wi problem a night-time. When we nuh done work yet and them come wid them car, them just park up all bout and we nuh have no parking.” This taxi operator is referring to Tuesday nights when the vendors should not legally be there. The Monitor Tribune observed multiple vendors selling in the park on Tuesday evening going into the night. The municipal police has the right to cease the goods of vendors who sell outside of their designated area and time.

Another taxi operator shared a similar complaint. “Them park and block up the whole roadway fi come inna the park and it affects the work time. The traffic weh fi come inna the park, it take a while fi come in and you haffi load”. A collective complaint from the taxi operators is that the park is already too small even without the vendors there.

Masters revealed that the Mandeville Municipal Corporation is looking at moving the wholesale vendors back into the market, “So, what we want to do, we want to move them and put them to a corner [of the market] which is the original area assigned for the wholesalers”. He reiterated, “[Due to] the magnitude of the persons that came for vending in the Covid time, the council decided that they would put them here [the taxi park] which would have more space but, as I said them bad behaving and them a come further than where them supposed to come”. No date was given  for the relocation.

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