JIS News

As the opening date for the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre approaches, commuters are being urged to purchase Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) smart cards, as this will prevent them from having to queue to purchase bus tickets at the centre.
In a JIS News interview, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations at the JUTC, Joan Barnett said, “I would really like to encourage persons to buy the smart cards. When the JUTC begins operations inside the Half-Way-Tree Centre, we will be selling tickets, and we also will be having smart card sales. But, if you have a smart card, it will save you time, because you don’t have to go into the line to purchase a ticket, and that is one of the benefits of having a smart card”.
Miss Barnett also encouraged commuters to subscribe to the personalized smart card service, whereby information such as their names and contact number are inputted at the time of purchase or top up.
“The protection is that if it (the smart card) is lost or stolen and it is reported, we put it on a hot list so that if anybody should find the card and present it, then you would see the hot list coming up and then we will know that they are not supposed to use that card at all. We could always issue another card, if there are funds on it. So, persons can pay an extra $50 when you are either topping up or purchasing a new card and get it personalized. It’s really worth it,” she explained.
The Marketing Manager disclosed that usage was now at six per cent and efforts are being made to increase that to at least 10 per cent by the end of the year. Since the start of the smart card system in 2004, approximately 75,000 cards have been issued.
By December 2005, a total of 2.7 million commuter trips were made, and from April 2005 to March 2006, 4.9 million trips were recorded. For the similar period of 2006 to 2007, some 4.26 million trips were registered.
The smart cards are sold in denominations of $100 and upwards for school children, and $200 and above, for adults. Persons may top up their cards as needed. “You can purchase cards for a month’s supply. In other words, suppose your regular bus fare would be $1,500, you could top up your card for that amount, and more,” Miss Barnett noted. The cards are available in more than 12 high schools and over 30 outlets in Kingston, including all post offices.
Miss Barnett said the JUTC is looking to introduce promotional activities to increase the use of smart cards, and more on this initiative will be announced shortly.

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