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The Montego Bay Metro Bus Service is to be expanded to facilitate improved and efficient service across western Jamaica, Transport and Works Minister, Michael Henry has announced.
Speaking in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 28), Mr. Henry said there was a need for the expansion of the state-owned bus service in western Jamaica to “improve the company’s revenue.and expand operations in some areas where commuters are requesting the service.” These areas, he pointed out, include: Wakefield and Falmouth in Trelawny, and Lucea in Hanover.
“To facilitate this kind of expansion, the replacement of the company’s aging fleet, on a phased basis, is to be done. This, while rehabilitation of some 16 buses within the service is in the making, plus refurbishing of the depot in Montego Bay,” the Minister explained.
Mr. Henry further informed that funding for the overall project is to be provided by the Ministry, with work scheduled to be undertaken during the current fiscal year.
Regarding the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), the Minister said that a number of initiatives are also scheduled to be undertaken during this fiscal year. These include: the hiring of a new president by October 1; increasing the number of buses in operation to 424, up from the approximately 300 currently in operation, by September 1; expanding the service to new routes; completing the conversion of all buses to single operator units; and commence publishing route timetables by January 2009.
Other initiatives include fully commissioning the vehicle location system; increasing smart card revenue to 25 per cent of the monthly fare income by March 31, 2009; and reducing the monthly rate of accidents and incidents involving buses by 50 per cent.