Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, has disclosed that a Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus will be converted into a mobile supermarket to serve elderly and disabled persons at their homes.
Making his contribution to the 2020/2021 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 2, the Minister said the initiative is a partnership between Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) and the bus company.
Items from the mobile supermarket will be sold at a minimal cost, “because this is not a profit-making venture,” he noted.
“SSL will undertake the retrofitting and operate and pay the attendant costs,” Mr. Montague pointed out.
Meanwhile, he said that as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the JUTC will allow sub-franchise holders up to September 30 of this year to pay fees, adding that a 20 per cent discount on fees will also be granted.
The Minister also disclosed that front-line workers will continue to ride free on the JUTC and Montego Bay Metro buses until the end of August 2020 as another gesture to ease hardships caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Mr. Montague used the occasion to call on the public to protect the buses, as “the continued vandalism of our buses by wayward individuals is of major concern”.
He is encouraging persons who witness abuse and damage of the vehicles to call the police, WhatsApp a message or call the ‘REPORT IT’ hotline at 876-570-1789.
“The damage to buses costs the company millions of dollars per annum; money that could be diverted elsewhere. I take this opportunity to remind the public that stoning buses is irresponsible and dangerous,” the Minister said.
Mr. Montague pointed out that the Montego Bay Metro faced similar challenges, but the company has managed to remain afloat and continue to provide service to the people in Western Jamaica.
“I am happy to report that all statutory liabilities for the company have been paid. All trade payables have also been paid off,” the Minister told the House.