News

JUTC to roll out bus tracking system for commuters

To put 100 more vehicles on KMTR routes

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 29, 2014    

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JAMAICA Urban Transit Company (JUTC) says it will on Monday roll out its long-promised tracking system that will allow commuters to monitor the locations of the State-run buses.

In addition, an additional 100 buses will be dispatched across the Kingston Metropolitan Region (KMTR) to coincide with the official start of the new school year. The JUTC currently has a total of 345 buses on the road.

Managing Director of the JUTC Collin Campbell said the tracking system, named Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL), is among the measures being undertaken to improve the service provided by the JUTC.

"The AVL system, when fully operational, will allow commuters to use their smart phones to track where a particular bus was on a route at any time. It would also give parents the opportunity to track, by fleet number, buses that their children were travelling on to and from school," Campbell explained.

Campbell was speaking at the end of a tour of several depots, offices and transport centres on Wednesday. He said the purpose of the tour "was to provide more public information on the JUTC".

On Sunday, the JUTC introduced its new fare structure that see commuters paying up to 100 per cent more to ride on its buses. Adults now pay $120, up from $100; seniors $40, up from $20; and students and the disabled now pay $30, an increase of $10. A proposal to set the fare for seniors at $60 was scrapped because of strong objections.

However, the implemented increase have still attracted much criticisms, including from the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party and the Jamaica Civil Service Association who argued that the move is untimely and will place additional financial burden on the travelling public and civil servants who are already facing severe hardships.

"A fare increase took place at the beginning of this week and there has been a lot of discussions in the public domain and there is a lot of information missing from the discussion and this was an opportunity to get some of that information regarding the operations of the JUTC out to the public," said Campbell.

Meanwhile, he said the bus company's Franchise Protection Team will be aggressive in clamping down on buses that are operating illegally in the KMTR.

"We are going to rid the streets of illegal operators in the KMTR," he told the Jamaica Observer.

"When we put out 450 buses on the road next week, we will need the space to operate and we need to operate viably because the public has made it very clear that with the sacrifice of granting the JUTC another bus increase, we have to ensure that we operate a service, collect the revenue to pay for that service, and do not come back to them within the year and the JUTC is absolutely serious about this," he said.

He also used the opportunity to urge commuters who benefit from concession fares to ensure that they have their Smarter Card after Sunday to continue receiving the benefit.

Concession passengers are children age three to 11 years; students in uniforms aged 12 to 20; people 60 years and older; and people with disabilities who have been issued identification cards by the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities.

Without the Smarter Card, concession passengers will have to pay the adult fare of $120.

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