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JUTC extends its deadline

Observer senior reporter

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) has granted its sub-franchise operators until May 14 to pay their road licence fees.

The fees have been due since March 31, but the sub-franchise operators have been seeking a grace period, subject to a resumption or normality in the public transport sector.

According to JUTC Corporate Communications Manager Cecil Thoms, following consultations with Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague, the Government-owned bus company decided to grant the sub-franchise operators until the May 14, to pay their road licence fees, which became due on March 31.

“We are mindful of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the operations of the transport sector and we felt it was important to signal to our stakeholders that we are in this together,” Thoms told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

He added that the sub-franchise operators will not only be given an extension, but that they will also benefit from a 15 per cent discount in fees, which now add up to a 35 per cent discount for the fiscal year 2020/21.

“This must be seen as a continuation of our efforts to empathise with operators, as last year we discounted fees by 20 per cent and have done so again this year, with a further 15 per cent discount. It is a challenging time for every business operator and we are playing our part, ensuring that people's livelihoods are not disrupted,” he confirmed.

“We are also reminding sub-franchise operators to clear outstanding balances to be able to renew their road licences,” he added.

Thoms says that it is not unsual for the JUTC to give their sub-franchisers a reduction in fees, or extend the payment period, but it is probably the longest delay given for making the payments.

“The operators have been complaining that with the COVID-19 pandemic it has been difficult for them to make the payments, and we have responded. But, there are some people who are reluctant to pay their fees and want to continue operating. We have given them time and a discount, not once but twice, and we expect the fees to be paid up by May 14,” he added.

The JUTC currently has exclusive rights to provide public transit service to the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR), which comprises Kingston, St Andrew, and Portmore, and Spanish Town in St. Catherine.

The company collaborates with private operators to provide supplemental services on certain routes within the KMTR where the JUTC, by virtue of certain operational challenges, cannot safely or efficiently operate. Currently there are some 400 private vehicle owners that benefit from this partnership and provide public transportation services on select routes.

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