JIS News

With the start of the new academic year less than three weeks away, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is encouraging commuters, especially students, to use the Smart Card to make their travel easier.
In an interview with JIS News, Corporate Communications Manager at the JUTC, Mr. Reginald Allen, says that the card provides a safe way of paying fares on the buses. “It offers security and convenience both for the parents and students,” he says.
He notes that the card also allows parents to better manage their children’s finances and monitor their whereabouts, as they are able to receive a report from the JUTC, indicating usage of the card by the child.
“Essentially, a parent can put a monthly amount on a card to cover transportation and be reassured that the child will not only be going where they should be going but also, you have a means of monitoring that,” he says.
He notes further that parents “can be assured that the level of service that the JUTC offers would be in sync with what you consider to be appropriate for your children so that you will not be there wondering which bus they are in and under what condition and what kind of environment.”
Parent and user of the Smart Card, Ms. Althea Plummer, says that the card makes it easier to pay fares.
“Sometimes, you give them (bus conductor) like a $500 or so and they don’t have any change, so if you have the card, you just take it out and give (it to) them,” she says.
Ms. Plummer tells JIS News that she also allows her daughter, Marsha, to use the JUTC Smart Card.
Marsha says that one of the most important aspects of the card is that it serves as an anti-theft device, as, instead of persons having to go into purses or wallets on a crowed bus to retrieve cash, which makes them vulnerable to criminals, they can simply use the card.
“You can just put on money that you know will last for like the whole month and you don’t have to think of bus fare or anything cause it’s on the smart card,” she notes further.
Since December 2002, passengers of the state-run bus company have had the option of paying their fares with the electronic Smart Card, which is economical and makes travel efficient, and more convenient.
JUTC Marketing and Sales Manager, JUTC, Lenworth Simms, tells JIS News that upon purchasing a Smart Card, it will be personalised, so that it can be easily replaced in the event that it gets lost or is damaged.
“We personalise the card free of charge to each card holder, which means that we link the name and telephone number of the cardholder to the card. If the card is damaged or gets lost, what will happen is that we can replace the card with the balance that was on the card at the point that the card was lost,” he explains.
Persons wishing to obtain cards for the new school year can do so at any of the more than 40 Smart Card dealers located in Corporate Area, and St. Catherine. Among the locations are Portmore Mall and the Spanish Town Lay-By in St. Catherine; and the Half-Way-Tree-Transport Centre, in Kingston.
The bus company offers a 10 per cent bonus to persons, who top up their cards with $500 or more, at any of the centres controlled by the bus company.
“If you put on $500, we give you $550 worth of travel time, if you put on $1,000 we give you $1,100.so that is something that we are pushing for students,” Mr. Simms says.
The JUTC-control centres at which the offers are available are: the Spanish Town Lay-By, the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre, and the East Parade sales office.
For further information persons may call the JUTC toll free line at 1-888-588-2287.

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