Fifty new buses were added to the Jamaica Urban Transit Company’s (JUTC) fleet, today (June 1), with the official handing over of the vehicles, which arrived in the island some two weeks ago.
The new state-of-the-art Volvo buses were manufactured by Belgian bus-making company, VDL Jonckeere and were imported through the JR Wellington Import/Export Corp.
The 53-seat buses are equipped with fire safety features, and cameras, among other features. One outstanding feature of the new buses is the cashless system, which will provide commuters with JUTC Smart Cards bearing personal details, including a photograph.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, displays his personalised Jamaica Urban Transit Company Smart Card, and tickets that were issued after the card was swiped on the system of one of the newly arrived Volvo buses. The 50 buses were officially handed over by manufacturer VDL Jonckeere of Belgium, at a ceremony held on Lady Musgrave Road, today (June 1).
Speaking at the ceremony, held on Lady Musgrave Road, in St. Andrew, Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry said that commuters would benefit greatly from the new units.
“The JUTC has come a far way, improving its general level of service across the KMTR,.(Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region) the typical bus ride has certainly been transformed. Likewise, the company’s fiscal and operational performances have been improving, with stability steadily becoming a feature of its existence,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Henry pointed to the JUTC’s improved ridership of 52 million, compared to 49 million in the 2009/2010 fiscal year. “The ridership expected for this year is to increase to 62 million, which shows that we are moving in a positive direction,” he said.
He used the opportunity to laud the efforts of public transport personnel in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR), for the level of commitment displayed during the recent period of civil disturbance in the Corporate Area, and St. Catherine.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry (right), swipes his personalised Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Smart Card on the system aboard one of the new Volvo buses. Managing Director of the JUTC, Paul Abrahams observes. The 50 buses were officially handed over by manufacturer VDL Jonckeere of Belgium, at a ceremony held on Lady Musgrave Road, today (June 1).
“Numbered prominently in the mix were the management and staff of the JUTC, who stuck to the task of keeping the bus service going during the period, without any mishaps,” he noted.
Area Sales Manager for VDL Bus and Coach, Belgium, Mr. Geert Lebbe expressed pleasure at the partnership with the Jamaican Government, noting that in the pursuance of quality and satisfaction, some 79 points of improvement had been executed, as requested by local contractor JR Group, before the units were shipped to the island.
When another batch of 50 units arrive in the island between July and August, this will bring to 100 the number of buses sourced from the Belgian company for the 2010/2011 fiscal year. Another 100 are to be purchased during the following fiscal year. Last year, 100 buses were also sourced for the JUTC from VDL Jonckeere.
Since 1995, VDL Jonckeere has supplied buses to Jamaica through financing from Commerzbank Belgium. Construction of two of the depots used by the JUTC, were also financed by Commerzebank Belgium, as well as the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre, which had significant support from the Belgian government.