STATE-RUN bus entity Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is assuring parents that providing an efficient transportation system for their children is one less thing they will have to worry about come Monday.
When the new school year begins on Monday, September 3, the JUTC aims to fulfil this need according to Reginald Allen, corporate communications manager at the company.
"Prior to the holidays, there was a general mandate to our maintenance department to project for a more meaningful fleet roll-out come September," Allen told Auto. "Coupled with that, we have added some new buses to the fleet."
Allen said a minimum of 350 units would be on the streets come next Monday.
The communications spokesman said additional buses would be assigned to school routes during peak hours to ensure the smooth movement of students.
Students pay a subsidised fare of $20 on JUTC buses.
"We ensure our children are transported to their destinations in a comfortable environment, and, this must also be comforting to parents," he said.
The JUTC has been perennially plagued with massive financial losses and vandalism. However, recently Dr Omar Davies, minister of transport, works and housing, told Parliament that for the first six months of this year the state-run bus system increased its revenue from $7 million per day to $10 million per day on average.
The minister, at the time, also announced the termination of an initiative inherited from the previous government in which buses were shipped to Brazil to be refurbished.
"To begin with, the shipping cost for each bus was US$25,000, and the actual cost of refurbishing each bus was US$100,000. All five buses which were shipped have been returned, but this has been at a cost of US$125,000 each," the minister was quoted as saying.
He also said the Jamaican German Automotive School (JAGAS) would assist with the refurbishing project.
JUTC buses operate throughout the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region, which covers Kingston, St Andrew, urban St Catherine — Portmore and Spanish Town — and sections of St Thomas, and ply more than 110 routes.