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Bus-repair training to reduce JUTC costs

Published:Sunday | August 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM
A JUTC employee takes pictures of the engine of a JUTC bus which caught fire on Arthur Wint Drive, St Andrew, last September.-File

Chad Bryan, Sunday Gleaner Writer

Graduates of the Jamaican-German Automotive School (JAGAS) and employees of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) are to be trained in a programme geared towards repairing and refurbishing JUTC buses.

Run in conjunction with the HEART Trust/NTA, the programme is slated to begin at the start of the new academic year at a JUTC maintenance depot along Lyndhurst Road in St Andrew.. The facility will be retrofitted to make room for state-of-the-art laboratories for attending to the transmission, engine, emission control, electronic, and mechanical components of the buses, among other things. Provision will also be made for sandblasting and setting up classrooms.

The initial cohort of 25 students will be selected from an interview process. Five of these are employees of the JUTC.

"We will reap long-term benefits since some of our people are going to be a part of this programme. They will be even more equipped with this detailed training programme," said marketing and communications manager for the bus company, Clinton Clarke.

Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies says this endeavour will allow for the reduction of money spent for repairs to buses of the state-run entity.

"The cost of sending a bus to Brazil was US$120,000. Obviously, that doesn't make economic sense. We'll be training and certifying young mechanics through HEART and we're going to roll out that centre. Classes are to begin next week," the minister said of the programme.

Consisting of 55 core units and five electives that will run for two years, the programme is expected to cover diagnosis and repairs for heavy-duty steering and suspension, brakes, and the electronic and fuel systems. Technical-report writing, mathematics, engineering science, safety, and the use of tools, among other things, will be part of the training process.

Cutting-edge technology such as a hydraulic floor jack, electric arc welder, spray gun and air disc sander, among other technical equipment, will be employed for the training programme.