JIS News

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  • Motorists are being assured that road surfaces that were disturbed by the National Water Commission (NWC), due to essential work to its Non-Revenue Water (NRW) Reduction Programme in Kingston and St. Andrew, will be reinstated in short order.
  • Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, who gave the assurance, said that the State-owned oil refinery, Petrojam, which produces asphalt used in the construction of roads, has returned to production and is now in a position to remedy the asphalt shortage.

Motorists are being assured that road surfaces that were disturbed by the National Water Commission (NWC), due to essential work to its Non-Revenue Water (NRW) Reduction Programme in Kingston and St. Andrew, will be reinstated in short order.

Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, who gave the assurance, said that the State-owned oil refinery, Petrojam, which produces asphalt used in the construction of roads, has returned to production and is now in a position to remedy the asphalt shortage.

“Petrojam was on a routine maintenance break, so the plant was not producing much (asphalt). They are now back in operation and within a couple of days or a week, adequate supplies will be made available,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at a press conference at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre in St. Andrew on August 8, following his ride on a Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus to gain first-hand experience of the challenges faced by the public, the JUTC and taxi operators, due to ongoing road improvements taking place from Three Miles to Half-Way Tree.

Mr. Montague also used the opportunity to test the effectiveness of the on-board Wi-Fi service of the JUTC, aimed at improving the passenger ridership experience.

Growth Tech, a technology company conceptualised in 2016, equips the JUTC with the Wi-Fi capabilities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Montague informed that plans are to be instituted for the roll-out of a monitoring system that will include a closed-circuit television system to increase bus safety, a fare counter and a people counter.

“The system will be able to monitor the buses, so that we can reduce idling of the units. We have situations where buses are parked for two to three hours idling, which is wasting gas and affecting our bottom line,” he said.

“Additionally, we will be introducing a new lubricant system that will reduce the amount of oil that we use; and help to filter and reuse oils, which will help to save the bottom line so that we improve the viability of the company,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the JUTC, Paul Abrahams, said that as the 2018/19 school term approaches in September, the State-owned bus company will roll out its full complement of 430 buses.

For his part, Growth Tech’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Neil Lawrence, welcomed suggestions made by the media and other commuters during the bus ride that will better enable the company to optimise their service to the commuting public.

Mr. Lawrence indicated that his company plans to further work with JUTC to increase the number of buses utilising the Wi-Fi service from four to 100 by mid-August and, “thereafter, complete the full fleet by the end of the calendar year, which will be about 450 buses”.