Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, says the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Board and trade unions will be settling the issue of overstaffing at the company.
According to the Minister, he has given a directive to the Board of the bus company to work along with the unions representing the workers to immediately have meaningful engagements, and to arrive at decisions in a “mutually acceptable manner”.
He said the JUTC is overstaffed by 411 persons, and although the issue is an inherited one, “which we have to correct”, based on prudent economic decision, “we are dealing with the displacement of individuals who are breadwinners for their families”, hence the need for dialogue.
The Minister, who was addressing a press briefing at his Maxfield Avenue offices in St. Andrew today (October 13), added that he had ordered several management audits at the company, which have led to it rolling out some 410 buses, coming from a low of 340 in November 2016.
He also reported that moves are under way to improve service at the JUTC, and to increase cost-efficiency and maximise operations, such as a pilot programme with New Fortress to switch from diesel to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which will result in a 28 per cent reduction in the company’s fuel bill, along with benefits to the environment.
“There will also be a route rationalisation exercise. The JUTC is analysing non-performing routes, with a view to removing its buses… put them on more profitable ones, and franchise them to private operators through the Transport Authority (TA),” he said.
Another cost-reduction measure being undertaken at the entity is a tracking system to monitor driver behaviour, fuel, accidents and personal injury claim, which should deliver “significant savings”. Mr. Henry outlined.
The Minister used the forum to appeal to persons who are stoning the buses, to desist from destroying the units, noting that since the start of the year, 86 have been damaged.
Stop it, and stop it now. We won’t sit idly by and allow this to continue. We are going to catch the culprits and let the law take its course,” Mr. Henry warned.