Several cars at the Lyndhurst Road car pound in St. Andrew. - NORMAN GRINDLEY
SEVERAL CARS ROTTING in the various car pounds in the Corporate Area and St. Catherine, may not be there much longer as the Transport Authority intends to auction them soon.
Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Transport and Works Leo McEwan confirmed that there are plans to auction the vehicles that have been in the pound.
"I know that that (auctioning the vehicles) is one of the actions they are planning to pursue soon. I know they are contemplating doing that," McEwan said. "I don't know when the auction will be but I know the next would be to auction them as some have been there for a while."
An approximate count by THE STAR revealed that there have been at least 600 vehicles in pounds across the Corporate Area for several months. The pound at Lakes Pen, St. Catherine, has at least 450 vehicle while the pound on Lyndhurst Road, St. Andrew, has about 150. In some cases, the vehicles were overgrown with vegetation and their tyres have long gone flat.
In most cases, the Transport Authority keeps the vehicles for up to a year before the vehicle is removed from the pound and an advertisement is placed in the papers asking owners to claim them. If the vehicles are not claimed then they are auctioned. According to a source at the Authority, an advertisement will soon be published warning of the impending auction.
TAXIS AND MINIBUSES
At the Lyndhurst Road Pound, checks by THE STAR revealed that most of the cars are taxis and minibuses seized by the Transport Authority after being found in breach of their licence. Most had red plates while others bore white plates. In some cases, the vehicles were said to be in the pound for months as several taxi operators have been unable to collect their vehicles.
"Mine in deh bout eight weeks now an' mi nuh have no money fi clear so mi mek up mi min' not fi clear it cause a $40,000 mi pay fi get it back di other day an' dem tek it now an' judge seh mi fi pay $30,000. Mi caan fin' dat amount of money so fas. Dem tek it weh earlier dis year an' mi pay $15,000 so mi mek up mi min fi dem sell it," said George West, a taxi operator in the Corporate Area.
Investigations by the news team revealed that West is not the only operator who has had his vehicle in the pounds for more than a month. Calvin Nelson, a former taxi operator, said he had his vehicle in the pound for more than a year.
At present, the owner of a seized car has to pay out a lot of money. Wrecker fee stands at $3,500 and motorists who do not collect their vehicles on the same day are forced to pay $1,000 for the first night and an additional $200 for each day after that. This means that for a vehicle impounded for six months, the owner would be required to pay at least $44,800, which includes wrecker fees. This amount does not include the sum that the Courts may ask them to pay. In the case of a year, the fees would stand at $84,100. In some cases, THE STAR found out that the storage for some of the vehicles could run for more than the value of the vehicles.
A request by THE STAR to the Transport Authority for information about how many vehicles are scheduled to be auctioned or when they will be sold
was not answered.