KINGSTON — The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is to spend US$35 million under an Asset Resuscitation Plan, to rebuild the company’s fleet over a period of time.
This was disclosed by Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, during his contribution to the 2011/12 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on May 4.
Mr. Henry also informed that funding for the plan will be provided through the Petro Caribe Fund.
“Buying new buses to bring back the JUTC fleet to the 700 units it once had was an extremely challenging proposition, as the cost was simply too much to be supported, amidst the challenges of the ongoing global economic recession,” Mr. Henry said.
He added that along with the acquisition of hundreds of new air conditioned buses, the Government had to find ways of getting more units of the same standards without the prohibitive cost involved with the new bus acquisition, to re-equip the JUTC to its desired fleet complement.
“The answer after intense assessment, scrutiny and testing of the various options, has been the Brazilian rehabilitation model, which was successfully piloted in that country and is now scheduled to be implemented on an expanded basis right here in Jamaica,” Mr. Henry said.
“The Brazilians are to rebuild some more of our once discarded buses to a state comparable to the very popular new air conditioned units under a programme that will gradually transfer the very important technology involved to local personnel, so that the initiative can be continued perennially by Jamaicans in Jamaica,” he added.
Rehabilitating a bus will cost about a third of the cost for a new unit, although both will have virtually the same economic span.
Established in January 2006, the PetroCaribe Fund manages the proceeds of a Venezuelan oil facility, allowing Jamaica to treat as loan proceeds the sale of oil from that country.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter