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Is ailing JUTC dying a slow death?

Published:Tuesday | June 6, 2023 | 12:45 AM


I write with a very heavy heart and disappointment about the current conditions of the ailing Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus service.

For too long, promises are made by the authorities that action is been taken. It was recently announced that some electric buses were purchased to help in the replacement of the fleet. Where are they? The aim is to reduce emission; however, I have some concerns about these electric buses.

• Have the JUTC mechanics received adequate training to service and repair these buses?

• Are there enough charging stations across the island?

• What about the spare parts, have they been procured along with these buses?

• Are these buses conducive to Jamaica’s terrain and weather conditions?

We hope that due diligence was carried out and we are not throwing away good money after a bad deal.

The new buses are not here, and the travelling public continues to suffer. Even the premium bus service, which is paid for in advance, is unreliable. If a bus is not available, then commuters have to find money to find alternative means of transport. How does the Government expect increased productivity when people don’t have reliable public transport?

There are many more private vehicles on the roads, which are creating traffic nightmares. I remember when the JUTC started operations, I and many others would park ours cars and ride the buses (Longsville Park, Claremont, Old Harbour, Old Harbour Road and the outer environs of Spanish Town to Kingston). This contributed to less pollution and gas emission and catered for a relaxing and safe journey. I long for those days to return.

Despite the disappointments, I must give kudos to the management and staff of the JUTC who continue in their effort to provide a service to the public, albeit limping. This would not have been possible without some dedicated drivers, who go beyond the call of duty to see to the interest of their passengers. I hope that the management of the JUTC recognises the great values which these dedicated drivers are adding to the image of the company and show appreciation to them.

To this end, I would like to name a few outstanding ones on the premium routes – Karen Graham, Marlon Reid, Jeffery Sampson, Robert Sharpe, Cebert Jemmison, Orette James, Michael Smith, Christopher Wallace and Rennie Watson. Please accept my apology for those drivers whose names were not mentioned. But respect and a big ‘shout out’ to ALL premium drivers. God bless you all, and you continue to do what you do best.

To the powers that be: How long will we wait, Lord?