JIS News

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is reporting a marginal decrease in the number of road traffic accidents involving its buses over the last financial year. Speaking at today’s (August 3) JIS Think Tank, President of the JUTC, Patrick McIntosh noted “over the last year, 04/05, we have seen a small reduction in the number of accidents, about 6 per cent”.
“What we have also observed is that the severity of the accidents has gone down quite significantly,” he further disclosed.
Over the period from April 2004 to March 2005, JUTC buses were involved in less than 1,500 accidents, down from 1,623 in 2003/04. In 2000/01, JUTC buses were involved in 1,398 accidents. That figure declined to 1,375 the following year, but increased to 1,409 in 2002/03.
According to the JUTC President, the company is already grappling with spiralling operating costs and accidents exacerbate the situation.
“Having accidents impacts our cost because we not only have to repair the bus, but also taking that bus out of service prevents an opportunity for revenue inflows,” Mr. McIntosh said.
In the current financial year, repairs to buses is projected to cost the JUTC approximately $300 million. However this figure was expected to increase as the fleet gets older, Mr. McIntosh explained.The JUTC President asserted however, that the majority of JUTC drivers drove well, therefore the company was focusing on improving the road habits of the minority through the implementation of a number of initiatives.
“We are having regular safety meetings with the drivers, we are also having the speed monitoring on the road. We also ask the drivers to leave their bus headlights on during the days to increase safety awareness and consciousness of driving more defensively,” Mr. McIntosh told JIS News.
In addition to these initiatives, the company regularly tests the vision of the entire bus crew, and conducts random testing of bus crews for drug use, with a penalty of job separation if found guilty. The last drug test was conducted in June. The JUTC also provides incentives to drivers who do not have any accident reports.