JIS News

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has introduced an Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) system to ensure greater efficiency in the dispatch of buses and to ascertain the precise location of vehicles at any point in time.
Nimal Amitirigala, Manager of the Information Technology Department at the JUTC, said that the bus company recently introduced the AVL system on three of its bus routes.
“What that gives us is the precise location of a bus at any point in time. So when our buses are travelling along a route, we are actually able to see the bus at intervals moving along a particular map, which is interfaced with the AVL system,” he explained to JIS News.
From this AVL system, the JUTC’s dispatchers are able to ascertain the speed of the bus, its altitude, direction in which it is travelling, precise location and the distance travelled.
“Our dispatchers at JUTC Central Control use the information to ensure that our buses run on schedule. In the event of an emergency, we are able to know the bus’ precise location and dispatch help if necessary,” he added.
In November 2004, the pilot programme was introduced on route 44, from Havendale to downtown Kingston, and was then expanded to route 97, Bull Bay/downtown Kingston, and route 53, Lawrence Tavern/downtown Kingston. The results thus far are encouraging, observed Mr. Amitirigala.
“We have seen an increase in our passenger movement, the reliability of our service. We have seen an improvement in revenue collected, on route 44 in particular. We see that our customers have greater expectations of what the route should do, that is, when a bus should leave a particular terminal point and when it should arrive, and this obviously translates into a greater demand on us to deliver quality service,” noted the IT Manager.
To date, the AVL system is being used on 28 buses in the corporate area; 10 buses on route 44, 11 on route 97 and seven buses on route 53.
Based on the success to date, the management of the JUTC has decided to introduce the programme to its wider network on a phased basis. When this is done, the JUTC’s operations should become much more efficient and easier to manage.
“What it will also do is improve the reliability of our service significantly because what we expect is not only will we be able to improve the reliability in terms of maintaining buses on schedule, maintaining headway so that people can expect their bus every 10 or 15 minutes, but also in terms of the deployment of our buses. We’ll be able to improve how we deploy the buses to be able to get the most out of the number of buses that we have now,” Mr. Amitirigala told JIS News.
The AVL system is a form of technology, which communicates with satellite receivers that rotate around the earth constantly. It is provided by Clear Channel, which is a partner of Cable and Wireless Jamaica Limited.