THE Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) will next week be rolling out approximately 100 buses as the State-owned company seeks to improve its operation in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR).
Yesterday, the transport and works minister said the buses will be added to the more than 240 buses now in operation.
"As of Monday the number of buses will be increased to 350 buses; this will represent 100 more than we were averaging," Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Omar Davis said.
Minister Davis said that the JUTC was aiming to retake routes that were left unmanned by the company because there were not enough units to fill the slots.
He was speaking to the Jamaica Observer after a certification ceremony for trained drivers and conductors, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.
Approximately 510 persons were presented with certificates under the programme, hosted by the Transport Authority in collaboration with the Heart Trust/NTA.
"The islandwide public passenger vehicle (PPV) training programme for drivers and conductors was aimed at exposing public transportation service providers to the laws governing the transport sector," Donald Foster, managing director of the Transport Authority told the Observer.
Foster explained that the training should allow operators to provide better customer service, be better at conflict resolution and better operators on the road.
In the meantime, the JUTC is moving ahead with plans for a new Smart Card system.
"As of Friday this system will be fully operational in Portmore, St Catherine," said Brian Tulloch, information technology manager at the JUTC.
The system will be gradually introduced over the next two weeks in sections of the Corporate Area, he said.
The JUTC IT manager urged commuters to use the next few weeks to bring in their old cards, so that they can be exchanged. He said that in order to facilitate the process, a new office was opened in the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre yesterday.
However, as the JUTC made the announcement commuters who called the offices of the Observer said they were left concerned as the changeover process was not fully explained to them.
One commuter, Rebecca Sayles, said she was informed about the upgraded system by a JUTC conductor but when she went to the office at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre she was told to go to another office.
Tulloch said he was aware of the breakdown in communication, but assured members of the public that over the next few days the system would be improved.
The new system, said the JUTC, will allow for quicker and more efficient transactions as the cards, upon purchase, would be among other things programmed to collect fares based on age or determine whether a passenger is disabled.