The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), today (December 10), unveiled a fully reconditioned bus, as part of a major overseas rehabilitation programme being pursued.
This initiative, being undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Works, is geared towards complementing the 200 new buses slated to arrive in 2010.
The bus, which was previously earmarked for disposal as scrap metal, was fully reconstructed and rehabilitated in Brazil by Incavel Omnibus E Pecas.
Following an extensive tour of the JUTC network by officials from Incavel late last year, it was noted that the Brazilian company also had a bus rebuilding division, which was capable of restoring many of the old buses which were previously written off.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, shows off a fully rehabilitated and refurbished bus of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC), today (December 10), at the Ministry’s offices on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston. The reconditioned bus is part of a major overseas rehabilitation programme being pursued.
Upon receipt of a proposal from Incavel, plans were put in place for the shipment of a badly damaged 2002 Torino Volvo B74 45-seater bus to the company in Brazil, which undertook to fully rehabilitate the unit and ship it back to Jamaica for testing under local conditions, following which the JUTC would be liable for the rehabilitation cost, if the unit is deemed to have performed satisfactorily.
Speaking at the launch, held at the Ministry of Transport and Works, Maxfield Avenue offices, portfolio Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, explained that as part of the trial, one of the 190 units at the JUTC’s Lyndhurst Road complex was shipped to Brazil to be rehabilitated.
“The unit was shipped to Brazil and rebuilt and rehabilitated as arranged, and is now back on the island for the planned road testing. The rebuilding and rehabilitation process involved new body and chassis parts, new electrical wiring, new or refurbished engines, new or refurbished transmission system, new brake system, a new front, to give it the seven to eight-year economic lifespan and to look like the new buses which have been put into the system,” Mr. Henry said.
The unit comes with a broad warranty, including two years for the body parts, and one year or 100,000 kilometres for engine, chassis and electrical parts, which is comparable to warranties on new vehicles.
Of critical importance is the fact that the reconstructed bus has been upgraded with air conditioning, physical styling (minus the cushion sheets) and colour to match the outlook of the new Volvo buses which were acquired by the JUTC earlier this year. The turn-around time for the bus rebuilding process is approximately six to eight weeks, including shipping to and from Brazil.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry (right), makes a point during a tour of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company’s (JUTC) Lyndhurst Road Complex, today (December 10). At left is Managing Director, JUTC, Paul Abrahams.
“The reconstruction and rehabilitation process for the crashed and badly damaged unit comes with a pending overall cost of approximately US$143,000 or J$12.87 million, including shipping, trucking and handling, which is roughly a third of the cost of each of the new Volvo buses (approximately $36 million). Very importantly too, is that with the rehabilitated unit having had a book value of approximately J$3 million, prior to departing Jamaica, should it pass the local testing requirements, what was once earmarked for disposal as scrap metal, would end up rivalling the value of the new Volvo buses,” Mr. Henry said.
“With the over 150 Volvo and Mercedes Benz buses from the lot that were earmarked for disposal being assessed by Incavel’s technical personnel and declared fit to be similarly rebuilt and rehabilitated, the JUTC stands to benefit from the affordable acquisition of the 150 reconditioned buses at less than a third of the price for a similar number of new units, with almost the same economic lifespan, should the JUTC opt to take up such an engagement with Incavel,” he added.
In his remarks, Managing Director of the JUTC, Mr. Paul Abrahams, noted that the unit that was rehabilitated would now go into a serious testing programme for approximately 60 to 90 days on various routes.
“It will be monitored (by the JUTC) and under the instructions of Incavel in Brazil. One of their greatest concerns is that in order for this bus to show its true potential, maintenance has to done on a scheduled basis. At the end of that testing programme, discussions will be continued to see where we go from here with such a proposal,” Mr. Abrahams said.
The JUTC now has over 600 buses, some of which are slated for disposal as scrap metal. With the addition of 200 new units next year, plus the possibility of the reconstruction of 150 of the older units, the JUTC, through increased numbers and improved fleet reliability, would be significantly closer to being able to fully deliver on its original mandate.