JIS News

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is hoping to boost use of SmartCards by passengers from 22 per cent to 25 per cent of fare revenue this financial year, in order to reduce losses due to leakages, says Minister of Transport and Works, the Hon Mike Henry.
Minister Henry told the House of Representatives on July 27 that increased use of the cards, will lead to better capture of “well needed revenue” for the company.
He said that there were already 100,000 SmartCards in circulation but, through an “intensive marketing effort”, the company hopes to increase usage from 22 per cent to 25 per cent of its fares for 2010/11, and to 50 per cent by March 2012.
Mr. Henry admitted that while the JUTC continued to depend heavily on the fare box to sustain operations, revenue leakage was still a concern, hence the promotion of the SmartCards, as part of an electronic fare collection system. There are currently 37 SmartCard point-of-sale locations across the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR), including eight post offices.
The Minister also stated that the company continued to face challenges in meeting the recovery of costs from fares due to a combination of factors, including: inadequate passenger loads, increasing cost of operations due to domestic and overseas inflationary factors, and traffic congestion affecting operations.
He said that the increasing cost of operations was due, primarily, to domestic and overseas inflationary factors, while traffic congestions were affecting the company’s ability to maintain bus schedules.
Mr. Henry stated that the JUTC continued to have difficulties in meeting its daily operational expenses, and was in need of “immediate funding” to clear the mounting liabilities and to fund some of its daily operations.
He said that among the initiatives to be pursued were: increasing the number of SmartCard locations and the avenues for recharging the cards; converting of more buses to single operator units, ensuring that expenses are kept within budget, and increasing commuter satisfaction.

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