Another Cashless Option For JUTC Commuters

Photo: file JUTC buses.

Story Highlights

  • The new device dubbed, ‘Prepaid Smarter Card’, is intended to be an alternative to cash and the Smarter Cards will be sold in values of $300, $600, $900 and $1,800.
  • The prepaid card will be distributed by Transaction E-Pins Limited, with outlets throughout the Corporate Area as well as JUTC locations.
  • Dr. Davies said an efficient transportation system is non-negotiable in a civilised country, particularly in its urban areas.

Commuters who travel on the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses now have another cashless and convenient option to pay their fares.

The new device dubbed, ‘Prepaid Smarter Card’, is intended to be an alternative to cash and the Smarter Cards will be sold in values of $300, $600, $900 and $1,800. The prepaid card will be distributed by Transaction E-Pins Limited, with outlets throughout the Corporate Area as well as JUTC locations.

Speaking at the official launching ceremony, at the Transport Centre in Half-Way Tree, today (October 30), Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, said the new feature will help in improving the operations and efficiencies of the company.

“Utilising this cashless system moves us towards a greater percentage of the fare being seen in the treasury of the JUTC,” he said.

Underscoring the Administration’s commitment to providing an effective public transportation system in the island, Dr. Davies informed that close to 450 buses are placed on the roads each day. He said this represents a significant improvement, moving from 250 in 2012.

“The Administration has shown its commitment by providing the JUTC with a modern, comfortable set of buses, because we believe that our commuters deserve the best. They are expensive, but there is no way we can accommodate a situation where there are ramshackle buses which represent our fleet,” he said.

Turning to the maintenance of the buses, the Minister noted that work is ongoing to ensure that competent staff and adequate spare parts are available to repair the units.

He urged the commuters, particularly students, to “respect the investments which have been made” and not to deface the units.

Dr. Davies said an efficient transportation system is non-negotiable in a civilised country, particularly in its urban areas.

The Minister used the opportunity to reassure private operators that there is a place in the public transportation system islandwide for them, adding that they will only retain that place if they operate in a disciplined and organised way.

“The provision of this public transportation service is not a hustle and there is no place for those who are simple hustlers. It is an important service which is needed by the commuters and more generally, the country,” he said.

For his part, Managing Director of the JUTC, Colin Campbell, said the card is expected to further reduce the use of cash on the buses and modernise the payment forms available.

He said that while all concession passengers utilise the cashless feature, it has been “very difficult” to win over the adult passengers to go cashless.

“We have tried to clone the exact situation for the successful prepaid top-up phone- cards, which means in the same way that E-Pins has a distribution network for top- up of telephone cards, our Smarter Cards will be available through the same network. So, when you go to top up your phone-card, you can now buy a prepaid bus card,” the Minister noted.

He said through a partnership with Transactions E-Pins, additional points of top-ups have been established. The Smarter Card top-ups may only be used to pay adult fares of $120.

Approximately 255,000 commuters use the services of the JUTC daily.

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