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The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and the HEART Trust/ NTA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see JUTC buses being repaired by persons trained by the organization, at a depot on Lyndhurst Road, in Kingston.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, in Kingston, on March 13, Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, said the initiative will save money, and will also utilize the expertise of locally trained individuals.

“It is a multipurpose approach. We will be simultaneously utilizing the expertise and training (of) young people through the Jamaican German Automotive School (JAGAS) and we will be saving significant amounts in terms of foreign exchange… What we are seeking to do is to utilize our own young people, trained to the highest international capabilities, to carry out such rehabilitation,” he said.

He explained that the initiative follows a plan by the previous administration to repair JUTC buses in Brazil, as the cost of that move was “prohibitive”.

Dr. Davies said part of the depot will be reconfigured and retrofitted to ensure that the required work will be undertaken effectively.

In his remarks, Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, said under the initiative the damaged vehicles of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will also be repaired.

“This will hopefully enable a far more economical way of keeping the police vehicles serviceable and it will also afford a tremendous opportunity for the HEART trainees to be exposed, not only to the restoration of buses, but also of every other kind of vehicle in the police fleet,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites said the move is a tremendous opportunity for the advancement of training within the island.

“The dream is for the day when any young person who wishes to be trained and certified at the highest levels…will come there, be assessed by HEART and avail themselves, not only of the theoretical studies, but the practical engagement and the opportunities of earning after being certified,” he said.

Board Chairman of the JUTC, Rev. Garnet Roper, said there are approximately 113 buses at the facility in various stages of disrepair.

He pointed out that the depot at Lyndhurst Road will be occupied by the JCF Motor Vehicle Repairs Division and the JUTC/JAGAS/HEART enterprise.

By Chris Patterson JIS Reporter