Time to reinvigorate the slowly dying JUTC
JUTC Battery Electric Bus (BEB).

Dear Editor,

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 after promises are made by the powers that be to appease the public that action is being taken. Of course, recently it was announced that some electric buses were purchased to help with the replacement of the fleet. Where are they? I am aware of our aim to reduce pollution in the environment; however, I have some questions/concerns about these electric buses.

1) Have JUTC mechanics received adequate training to service and repair these buses in a timely manner to alleviate any catastrophic incidents?

2) Are enough power charging stations in place throughout the country to provide recharging, especially when buses go out on long excursions?

3) Were parts procured along with these buses to ensure that downtime would be minimal?

4) Are these buses conducive to our terrain and very hot climate?

I do hope due diligence was carried out and we are not throwing away good money on a bad deal.

The new buses are not out yet, and the travelling public continues to suffer.

I would like the minister of transport, the minister of finance, and the prime minister to give their perspectives on how they see the coordinated effort to boost productivity and the economy when people leave their homes and are not sure how and when they will reach work or school and return home. Not to mention that people have to pay in advance (requirement to travel on the Premium buses) for a service that is not living up to the agreement. If a bus is not available, commuters have to find additional funds to travel alternatively.

Ministers, you know how it feels after a long and hard day of work to get home and spend some time with the family or rest before the next day of work. We too need this.

Of course, there is an increase in the number of privately owned vehicles on our roads creating more traffic nightmares than ever before. One of the reasons is that we don't have a reliable and functional bus system in place. In the earlier days, when JUTC started operations, I and many others would park our vehicles and ride the buses — Longsville Park, Claremont, Old Harbour, Old Harbour Road, and the outer environs of Spanish Town to Kingston — return trip every day. This contributed to less pollution and provided a relaxing and safe commute for passengers, the end result was a boost in productivity. I long for those days to return.

Despite my disappointment, I must give kudos to the management and staff at JUTC who continue to provide a service to the public, albeit a limping one. This would not have been possible without some dedicated drivers who go beyond the call of duty to satisfy the needs of their passengers. I hope that the management of JUTC recognises the great value which these dedicated drivers are adding to the image of the company and show appreciation for 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 if I omitted any names. But respect and a big "shout out" to all Premium drivers who ensure that while we, the commuters, endure the challenges, we can still smile and carry on because you make it possible.

God bless you all as you continue to do what you do best.

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

Dawn Alcott


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