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The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has decided to add two late trips to its number 98 bus route following talks with residents of Port Royal last week.
In addition to the two trips, the company will also effect a public timetable as of September 7, along with a new roster and should coincide with the new school term. As it sought to rationalize the operations of that route, the Company had originally contemplated making 8:00 p.m. the cut off time for the last bus leaving downtown Kingston for Port Royal. The two late trips will include one bus that departs at 9:10 p.m. and the other at 10:10 p.m.
President of the JUTC, Patrick McIntosh said he was pleased with the outcome of the recently held town meeting, as the Company had achieved its objective and the residents would benefit. He noted that this was not the first time the JUTC was hosting a town meeting in the community as one had also been convened with introduction of the premium service. “I think the people were very responsive and had very constructive suggestions and criticism to make,” he said. The residents are also pleased with the outcome of the meeting, particularly as the late bus service will also apply to weekends.
Acting President of the Port Royal Citizens Association Rhona Wade said persons were “comforted that the bus company management has decided to give them two more trips on Saturdays”.
She added, “You see, there are a lot of persons who come in late at nights on the weekends, people who shop late, restaurant, wholesale and other workers, persons who work by the Norman Manley International Airport and the Maritime Institute as well as church goers. Consideration must be given to those persons because they depend on the service to get to and from the community.”
Mr. McIntosh said he was hopeful that the two extra trips would benefit the community. He noted however that if in the long run this move did not make “economic sense” then the JUTC would have to revert to the original plan.
Meanwhile, the rationale for the new timetable is to regularize the service to Port Royal allowing residents to plan their activities around the bus service.
Mr. McIntosh said the Company presently did not have a public timetable in place and as such, residents sought alternate means of transportation, thereby resulting in a reduced number of passengers for the buses.
“As part of the move to encourage more commuters to use the service there must be a measure of predictability and that is where the timetable comes in,” Mr. McIntosh noted.
However he pointed out that as a precaution a disclaimer had been put on the timetables that schedules might be affected by unusual traffic or weather conditions. “Otherwise we expect that the frequency and the times that we have put out should be met,” he said.
The JUTC President expressed satisfaction at the level of interaction displayed at the meeting and said the company would be using this format more frequently as part of its increased efforts to present the JUTC as a customer oriented transport company.