Mon | Jan 27, 2020

JUTC hopes to burn $3b fuel bill with LNG

Published:Friday | July 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The LNG gas station to be developed by New Energy Fortress will have the capacity to fuel 25 buses daily, or five times the number of buses designated for the pilot programme to be conducted with the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, JUTC.

New Fortress spokeswoman Verona Carter also said it's estimated that the five JUTC buses would require 720 gallons of fuel daily.

"Phase one of the fuelling station - up to 25 buses - cost US$1.7 million," said Carter. The station is to be established in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

JUTC is hunting savings on its fuel bill, which, according to preliminary figures, topped $2 billion in the past two years. JUTC is projecting an even bigger fuel expense this year, $3.7 billion, according to the Jamaica Public Bodies report.

"If the pilot is successful the intention is to add more buses, but at this time - before the start of the first phase - we are not in a position to say when the expansion will be and by how many buses," said JUTC spokesman Cecil Thoms.

JUTC has 608 buses in its fleet, only 525 of which are operational.

The public bodies report forecasts a rise in the bus company's annual revenue by less than five per cent to $5.32 billion at year ending March 2019. But its fuel bill is projected to rise by a much faster clip, 46 per cent, from $2.52 billion to $3.68 billion.

If the numbers hold, JUTC would end up spending 69 per cent of the bus fares it collects on its fuel bill alone. The fuel bill would also surpass the expected $3.33 billion of staff expenses, the latter of which has been one of the company's main cost drivers.

The LNG pilot programme being financed by New Fortress is scheduled for early next year. Any decision by JUTC and the Government on whether to embrace LNG as fuel for buses would not impact the current fiscal period.