'We're ready for the road'


'We're ready for the road'

By Balford Henry
Observer senior writer

Friday, August 30, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

COME Monday morning, start of the school year, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) says commuters should have one less thing to worry about.

According to Corporate Communications Manager Cecil Thoms, the State-run bus company will be rolling out more than 400 buses per day.

“What we did is that we used the opportunity offered by the schools' summer break to repair a number of the buses which had various problems, ranging from water leaking from the air conditioning system inside the buses to engine problems,” Thoms told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

Thoms said approximately 415 buses would be on the roads per day.

The JUTC had reduced the daily roll out from the 400 mark to between 360 and 380 buses per day during the summer holidays, which gave them the opportunity to repair a number of the buses. This should create a less fragmented fleet, reduce the discomfort from faulty support systems and ensure that the daily turn out remains at about 415 per day.

However, this is well below the 473 available buses the company needs to achieve the 2018/19 target of 425 buses per day, which was aimed at increasing annual passenger numbers to 58.1 million from the current level of approximately 56.50 million per year.

Last financial year (2018/19), the JUTC was allocated a $2.6 billion subsidy by the Government to offset the company's operating expenses. That figure included $1.2 billion for the acquisition of spare parts and and $7.5 million for a workforce management software, KRONOS.

But, despite the subsidy and the company's efforts to increase revenues from just over $5 billion to $5.2 billion during the last financial year by introducing a number of initiatives aimed at improving efficiency and reducing costs, the JUTC seems doomed to end up with a loss of about $7 billion, again this year.

But, there are some encouraging signs, including the introduction to the system of five new Dragon buses using liquified natural gas instead of diesel, which are expected to herald the JUTC's gradual change to the more efficient gas.

These buses are smaller than the current China-built Dragon buses being used by the company, but although reducing maximum passenger space they will cut fuel costs and reduce air pollution.

The company will also be attempting to complete the process of providing free Wi-Fi service to passengers travelling on all its buses.

Efforts are also being made to increase the use of its charter services, as well as improve on revenues from its external and internal advertising.

In the meantime, JUTC's current “Summer Ride” programme which offers passengers a 20 per cent reduction in the cost of travelling on its regular service using a Smarter Card, or up to $60 using a Smarter Card on its premium/express services, will continue through to August 31.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon