The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), has collaborated with the Jose Marti Technical High School in St. Catherine, to provide a dedicated after-school bus service for the thousands of students who commute daily to and from Portmore and Spanish Town.
The bus service, which will run between 2:30p.m and 4:00 p.m, had an unofficial launch and trial run yesterday (Oct. 15) at the school, where three articulated buses’ (double cab) entered the school compound to pick up, eliminating the need for students to exit the school.
Marketing and Sales Manager at the JUTC, Lenworth Simms, told JIS News, that there was a real need for a transportation system that reduces the exposure of students at the Jose Marti on the roadway. Jose Marti is situated at the round-a-bout at the entrance to Spanish Town and students are forced to cross the Mandela Highway, at significant risk of being hit by fast-moving vehicles.
“We are very proud that we can work along with the Principal and his team to bring this product as a special incentive . and once we see how it works we will want to expand it and replicate this model at other schools that would be in the same situation, needing the same kind of solution,” he said.
Mr. Simms pointed out that the project, which would be reviewed in a few months to ensure its effectiveness and visibility, was part of a new marketing thrust by the JUTC. The company is expecting a new fleet of buses, which would expand its capabilities, positioning itself to be the premium provider in charter services, special events, and several other areas of service.
Principal of the Jose Marti Technical High School in St. Catherine, Bevar Moodie and students of the school seem very happy in a bus, at the start of a pilot after school bus service for the school, on October 15. The service will see three Articulated buses (double cab) departing the school at 2:30 p.m. to Portmore and Spanish Town, reducing the risk and need of children having to cross the busy Mandela Highway.
Explaining how the service would work, the Marketing Manager pointed out that it would not be supplemented by picking up passengers along the way. “This service is for the Jose Marti students so it will be taking them up here and taking them to Spanish Town and to Portmore. That is why it’s a pilot. We’re going to see with three articulated buses whether we have sufficient capacity to be effective, we’re going to look at how many students we would have moved over a period of time what kind of revenue would have generated, so it will be properly evaluated to see how best to refine it,” he said.
Communications Manager at the Ministry of Transport and Works, Reginald Allen, hailed the initiative as a worthy one. “As a public entity that’s what we’re really about, providing for the nations commuting needs and for the youngsters. It’s an absolute joy to be of this level of assistance to them,” he said.
Principal of Jose Marti, Bevar Moodie, pointed out that the project, though a pilot would go a far way in easing the congestion at the school gate in the afternoon when school is dismissed and would ensure that students got home in good time. “I believe the student population is grateful because although many of them like to travel on the buses with loud music, many prefer to travel on the larger buses knowing that they are safer, so they welcome it and the teachers also welcome the initiative,” he told JIS News.
He said an arrangement would be put in place soon to facilitate Smart Card usage, eliminating the problem of change, especially when so many students, paying $15 each, are involved.