Almost a month into the introduction of the JUTC shuttle service, as part of the new downtown Kingston transportation system, Service Planning Manager of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Ltd. (JUTC), Kirk Finnikin says operations have been “good so far."
Speaking at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, Mr. Finnikin noted that the JUTC stands by its commitment of ensuring that commuters remain connected in the new downtown Kingston transportation system.
This has been demonstrated in the implementation of an additional shuttle service, which operates from Pechon Street to Water Lane only, just a little over a week after the implementation of the original service, he noted.
He added that this was in response to concerns of inconvenience, expressed by commuters in the market district as well as taxi operators.
“We have recognised that when systems are implemented there are needs that arise and one of the needs that we recognise was a demand for passengers to have connectivity between Pechon Street and Water Lane exclusively,” he explained.
The Service Planning Manager informed that the JUTC continuously monitors both shuttle services to ensure they remain adequate and efficient. The latest shuttle service has its highest take-up of commuters between Thursdays and Mondays.
He noted that this new service is highly utilised by persons from rural parishes who are part of the market district. “They tend to take their loads from the out-of-town buses, transfer them to the shuttle, and then they are transported to the Pechon Street terminal where they are transferred to Darling Street or to the Coronation market,” Mr. Finnikin told JIS News.
He pointed out that the shuttle service is necessary to ensure connectivity between the three termini – Water Lane, Parade and Pechon Street – due to the long distance between them. “We have made provisions in our budget to accommodate just that,” he said.
The JUTC continues to monitor the operations of both shuttle services to ensure its efficiency. The Service Planning Manager noted that from observations, demand for the latest shuttle service services wanes by 7:30 p.m.
He said that they are currently trying to establish a pattern and adjust the service accordingly. “We are watching that, because we do not want to provide a service beyond a time that passengers are taking it, because it comes at a cost,” he pointed out. The same is being done for the original shuttle service.
Turning to the ridership of the buses since the shuttle service began on January 15, Mr. Finnikin informed that while there has been no data yet, they have been able to estimate this through calculaton of the load factor.
“We have a measure which indicates the state of the bus, called the load factor. If you are at zero, you are at the lowest end, meaning that the bus is relatively empty and if you are at three, the bus is full,” he explained.
“From the reports, the load factor is between one and two, suggesting that the number of units that are on the route have passengers flowing consistently between Pechon Street, Parade and Water Lane,” he explained.
CONTACT: LATOYA PENNANT