MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, says that a project to refurbish derelict Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) buses should start soon.
He said that the refurbishing will be done on the Montego Bay Metro Bus Company premises, in collaboration with a Brazilian firm.
Addressing a ceremony marking the handing over of two new buses to the Metro Bus Company on Thursday July 7, 2011, Mr. Henry pointed out that a derelict bus refurbished by the Brazilians has been operating in the JUTC fleet for a year now, standing up to the rigours of the service.
He said that the bus was one of some 755 left stranded across the metropolitan area to be dumped at sea. However with the success of the refurbishing experiment some 300 more buses are likely to be refurbished.
“It went away as the worse damaged bus in the fleet we had. We have now tested it, in cooperation with the company out of Brazil, a company called Ecavel…(and) we have the agreement to establish the refurbishing of those buses right here in Montego Bay,” he stated.
He said that checks have already been carried out at the Metro Bus Company site, to confirm its suitability for the refurbishing plant, which will provide 12 to 15 permanent jobs, when fully established.
Managing Director of the JUTC, Paul Abrahams, said that in trying to establish the refurbishing plant, every effort is being made to abide by the procurement guidelines. Approvals have been received from the National Contracts Commission (NCC) to proceed, and support is now being sought from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
Mr. Abrahams noted that the plan is for the Brazilians to do a certain number of buses, while training Jamaicans who will eventually be takeover the refurbishing.
“We anticipate that in another 60 days we should start the process. The Brazilian company is waiting with open arms to start,” he said.
“This whole project is a win/win situation for Jamaica, and I think that if we can achieve it, then our rolling stock issues, in the years to come, will be completely resolved,” Mr. Abrahams concluded.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter