JIS News

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) will be launching a major promotion and marketing campaign this month, aimed at encouraging greater use of the smart cards.
“We are targeting to get the percentage of ridership using the smart cards from about six per cent to about 30 percent within the next 12 months and then we will continue to see how we can move it up to a much higher level in subsequent years,” said company president Patrick McIntosh.
He informed that passengers who used the cards, stood to benefit from a 10 per cent reduction in bus fares. Meanwhile, Mr. McIntosh pointed to plans to increase the number of card sale locations to improve accessibility. There are currently 18 points of sale in the corporate area.
“We have been speaking to many secondary and primary schools in the corporate area to invite them to be point of sale locations as well and we expect that come the start of the school year, we will putting our machines in schools”, informed Gwyneth Harold, manager of marketing and public relations at the JUTC.
She added that the response has been good so far and a total of 40 schools were expected to be a part of this project.
Introduced in 2002, the smart card is an electronic fare collection system, which aims to minimise cash transactions on buses, speed up the entry of passengers into buses, improve accountability and revenue collection and guard against theft.
The card is convenient, it can be easily topped up and its use lessens the amount of cash on the buses making them less susceptible to robberies, said McIntosh.
“Let us assume that if every passenger was doing that (using the cards) we wouldn’t have any cash on the buses and I must tell you that one of the things we experience is robberies on the buses. I wouldn’t say it is to a significant extent but in today’s Jamaica, one would like to see those things reduce to zero,” he pointed out.
In another attempt to lessen robberies on the buses, the JUTC head said that the company was looking at installing cameras on the buses and expanding its automatic location system.
“The tendering process to put cameras on our buses has started and we want to do it as soon as we can. It allow us to monitor activities on the buses including vandalism,” he told JIS News, adding that this process would cost the company several hundred million dollars.
It cost the JUTC some US$4 million to implement the smart card system, Mr. McIntosh revealed, adding that the amount included the acquisition of the equipment.

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