- The robust electronic fare collection system will help to stop revenue leakage
- Adults who should be paying the full fare are benefitting from the concessionary fare
- A cashless system will be introduced for the concessionary fares
The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) will shortly introduce a robust electronic fare collection system as part of efforts to stop revenue leakage.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ at the agency’s headquarters in Kingston on August 21, Managing Director, Colin Campbell said that the revenues of the company are being diminished by leakages particularly where adults who should be paying the full fare are benefitting from the concessionary fare.
“The issue of how we conserve the revenue has been foremost in our minds because the JUTC has two fares, $80 and $20, next week it will be $100 and $20. Wherever you have a difference in fares, it provides an opportunity for leakages, we have to make sure that concession fares go only to people who qualify…and it is our general observation that the growth of concession fares over the last 10 years cannot be attributed solely to demographic movements but it has to be the fact that we are not doing something right operationally…it has to be that perhaps there are some adult passengers who are not getting an adult ticket but rather getting a child’s ticket,” he said.
Mr. Campbell noted that historically, commuters benefitting from the concessionary fares average a third of ridership, adding that the most recent data indicate that commuters benefitting from concessionary fares now account for 55 per cent of ridership.
“We are hoping to introduce technology to take care of the revenue conservation and the revenue integrity. We also intend eventually, to move to an electronic payment system that will remove the cash entirely from the JUTC units. It has the benefits of conserving our revenues but also it will be a more secure environment for commuter travel,” he said.
Deputy Managing Director, Operations, Kirk Finnikin, said on a phased basis, the cashless system will be introduced whereby all commuters who wish to qualify for the concessionary fares must purchase the electronic ‘Smart Cards’ through the designated outlets.
He noted that the company will be targeting schools, pharmacies and clinics among other areas to ensure that the targeted clientele is reached, including senior citizens.
“What it will mean is that for them to access the $20 fare they will use this card. It will mean that we at the JUTC will have to be going into the schools and locations where our distribution will allow us to reach our intended market so that they can get the cards in their hands, conveniently be able to recharge these cards at particular locations so that they can continue traveling on the JUTC. Over time, those concessionary passengers will be joined by adult passengers because the idea is to get most of our passengers using smart cards,” he explained.
Mr. Finnikin added that approximately 15 per cent of passengers are Smart Card users.
In the meantime, Mr. Campbell informed that over time, Smart Cards will be changed to Smarter Cards whereby a device is placed in the buses to recognise the cards, without so that there is no interaction with the driver.
This high-tech system will foster greater efficiency in processing commuters boarding the buses, and allow for better concentration among the operators on the key functions of safer driving practices and improved customer service.
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, recently announced that a 25 per cent increase in fares, will become effective on Sunday, August 25.