JIS News

Since the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) launched its smart card system in December 2002, some 27,000 cards have been issued and the fleet has taken approximately 2 million smart card trips.
Nimal Amitirigala, Information Technology and Electronic Fare Collection Manager at the JUTC, told JIS News that all the buses were smart card enabled, including the premium express fleet. He said the company operated some 450 buses per day and had 23 point of sale locations where commuters could purchase the cards.
Mr. Amitirigala informed that while sales were slow during the first six months of implementation, usage has doubled since the company introduced a discount system last September. Under the new system, commuters get 10 per cent off each fare and pay $27 instead of the usual $30 cash fare. “People realized that they could save and so sales have been going quite well,” he pointed out.
He told JIS News that one of the difficulties for the bus company was the fact that the public education campaign had not been as extensive as intended, but there were plans to boost promotion to increase usage from four per cent of commuters to 10 per cent by March. That promotion will include targeting schools and “partnering with special events to try and get the card out there as much as possible,” he said.
The cards, which are available in denominations of $250 and upwards, are rechargeable, therefore, commuters only have to purchase their cards initially, following which, monetary credit (over $100) can be bought and charged to the card when needed. In addition, individuals may personalize their cards with information specific to them, so that in the event of theft or loss, the JUTC would be able to trace the card using this information and “hotlist” it, rendering the card invalid.
At the launch of the smart card system, Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill said that the programme, which cost an estimated US$4 million, inclusive of hardware, software and training, was central to the company’s strategic plan to reduce inefficiencies and to maximize revenue.
He said that its successful implementation would over time, reduce leakage and conserve money, enhance passenger security and assist the company in implementing several crucial improvement measures.

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