KINGSTON — The Ministry of Transport and Works has launched a project to refurbish some 400 discarded Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses, at one third the cost of a new bus.
The project was embraced by the Ministry after Brazilian company, Incavel, took home one of the discarded buses, and refurbished it at their own expense. It was brought back to Jamaica and tested by the JUTC for one year, to prove its working condition.
Minister of Transport and Works, the Hon Mike Henry, says that five more buses will be sent to Brazil to be refurbished. But, in the meantime, the Ministry has sealed a partnership with the company to have the remaining buses refurbished in Jamaica, by having the technology transferred to local technical and engineering personnel. The plant will be located at the JUTC’s Montego Bay Depot.
Launching the project on Tuesday September 20 at the JUTC’s Portmore Depot, the Minister said that it will boost earning for Jamaican employees, and provide them with new skills.
“The Montego Bay Depot has space so I said, set up the plant there. The work will continue, until we have repaired some 400 buses,” he confirmed.
Hundreds of JUTC buses were being dumped or used to provide parts for other buses on the road, for years. The new initiative will create savings for the JUTC, as the refurbished buses are expected to serve almost as long as new ones, but the refurbishing will cost only US$120,000 each, which is about one-third the cost of a new unit.
“What this speaks to is, we are resurrecting abandoned assets of the country,” Mr. Henry declared. He said the refurbishing project was an aspect of good governance, as governance should seek opportunities to advance, develop and foster co-operation.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter