Last week, the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) announced that it will be selling 60 of its scrapped buses to scrap-metal dealers. The sale is would provide some much-needed revenue for the cash-strapped entity.
However, according to JUTC Marketing Manager Clinton Clarke, they are unable to say just how much money will be realised from these sales.
"This is something we ask people to come in and bid on, so I wouldn't be able to tell you how much money we are going to realise from it. We are not even sure if the people are going to come and buy them," he said.
Despite the profitability of the scrap-metal trade, the bus company is steering clear of venturing into the trade to rid itself of the buses, saying it will remain solely a transport entity.
"The JUTC is a transport company; we are not into the business of shipping scrap mental. When the board of survey is done on the buses and they are written off, by law, then it is either we going to leave them there to rotten down or find a way to dispose of them leave them and that's (the latter) what we have done," Clarke said.
Even though many of the bids are expected to come from scrap metal dealers, Clarke pointed out that the process is open to just about anyone who may be interested.
"We have made the thing public and whosoever [can] come to bid. ... I don't know if there will be any stipulation that the person should be in or outside of Jamaica. The people who purchase these things are [not just] scrap-metal people, but people who use them for other things. Private schools may buy them to make classrooms or to create a canteen. It's open to whoever wants to purchase," Clarke said.
He also pointed out that the buses selected for sale are completely scrapped and would not be able to be refurbished and placed on the road as transportation.
"They have been scrapped down to the shell. These are not buses that, when they are sold, people will be able to fix them up and put them out there as transportation," he said.
The parts buses are taken out and used in other buses that are operational.
"They are scrapped down and whatever parts can be retrieved from them to put on any other buses, in terms of refurbishing, that's done," Clarke emphasised.
According to the JUTC, the bids must be submitted by Wednesday, September 30, and successful bidders will be required to remove the buses from their present storage area within a specified time, at no cost to the JUTC.