JIS News

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  • Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Dr. Omar Davies, says the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) cannot maintain its level of service to the public if the gap between revenue and expenditure is not addressed.
  • The Minister stressed that despite efforts by the JUTC to improve efficiencies, and additional support from Government, the state-run bus company continues to record significant losses, as it is being outpaced by costs.
  • Dr. Davies pointed out that the increases are in fact below the fare recommendations made by the Office of Utilities Regulations (OUR) five years ago of $131 for adults; and $40 for concessionary passengers. At that time, the fares were $50 for adults and $15 for concessionary passengers.

Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Dr. Omar Davies, says the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) cannot maintain its level of service to the public if the gap between revenue and expenditure is not addressed.
He emphasised this at a press conference today (Aug. 20), at his Maxfield Avenue offices in Kingston, to announce fare increases approved by Cabinet, which will become effective on August 24.
The Minister stressed that despite efforts by the JUTC to improve efficiencies, and additional support from Government, the state-run bus company continues to record significant losses, as it is being outpaced by costs.
“The reality is that the current fare levels are inadequate and have been for years. The JUTC cannot continue on this track and maintain the service standards, which it has achieved over the past 12 months,” he stated.
The approved increases are: $120 for adults, up from $100; $30 for students and the disabled, up from $20; and $60 for senior citizens, up from $20.

Dr. Davies pointed out that the increases are in fact below the fare recommendations made by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) five years ago of $131 for adults; and $40 for concessionary passengers. At that time, the fares were $50 for adults and $15 for concessionary passengers.
Managing Director of the state-owned bus company, Colin Campbell explained that the increase in the fare for senior citizens was adjusted according to law, which requires that adult concession fares should be half of the regular adult fare.
He said the adjustment also means that both male and female senior citizens, age 60 and older, will be entitled to the same rate of concession, instead of men accessing the subsidy at age 60 and women at age 65. This is in accordance with the changes to the retirement age, which brings the retirement age for women in line with that of men.

In relation to the concessionary fare, Mr. Campbell pointed out that the JUTC is the only service provider that has held cost to the consumer at the same rate for over four years.
Meanwhile, Minister Davies is urging commuters to get their Smarter Cards now. He said that certain benefits will only be available through this payment mechanism, which will become fully operational on September 1.

The Smarter Card is aimed at reducing cash use on the buses, as well as for the proper administration and accountability of the government subsidy.
Highlighting ongoing improvements in the JUTC’s service, Dr. Davies informed that as of April, the company has been dispatching 400 buses daily, with its increased capacity, due mainly to the acquisition of 55 new buses in September 2013. This includes  20 articulated units, followed by 69 more units in July of this year.
Additionally the Minister said, maintenance operations have been revamped, with the purchase of 23 containers of parts.
As it relates to the reforms in the system, which was rolled out in April, he said there has been “quantifiable performance”, including a 28 per cent increase in ridership over the period April to July 2013.