Prime Minister Bruce Golding will officially open the new downtown Kingston Transport Centre, Water Lane, at a function starting at nine on Saturday morning (January 15).
The centre will be managed by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC). It will facilitate buses from eastern parishes – St. Mary, St. Thomas and Portland, non- JUTC buses, Hackney Carriages and Route Taxis. The Transport Authority (TA) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will also operate from the centre.
JUTC buses will continue to terminate in the Parade area, while the Pechon Street station is being refurbished to accommodate its sub-franchise operators. The Centre was completed last June, and features a main terminal (1A) and smaller terminals (1B and 1C) to the north, across Water Lane.
This first phase of the overhaul of the downtown transport system will see the rural buses terminating in Terminal 1 on Water Lane, while sub-licensees of the JUTC will terminate at Pechon Street. Route Taxis will terminate in Taxi Park 1 on Water Lane and Hackney Carriages will use designated stands at several locations. These include lay-bys at North Parade and South Parade, as well as the intersection of King Street and Barry Street, King Street and Tower Street, Darling Street and Ebenezer Lane and Pechon Street.
JUTC buses will now operate out of North, South and West Parade. The JUTC will also offer a free shuttle bus service linking Parade and the Transportation Centre, the Pechon Street terminus along major routes. This service will be available between 5 a.m. and 11p.m. daily. Commuters are being guaranteed a waiting period to get a shuttle bus of not more than four minutes during peak hours and six to eight minutes in off peak hours.
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has been coordinating meetings with stakeholders, including the KSAC, the TA, the JUTC and the police, in order to oil the wheels of the new system. The agencies are seeking to ensure the readiness of the infrastructure to support the new system, as well as interventions to sensitize stakeholders to phase in the changes with as little dislocation and inconvenience, as possible.
As the managers of the new system, the KSAC will charge operators a fee to use the Water Lane and Pechon Street Terminals.