The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) will unleash a ramped-up revenue and franchise protection team this morning in its latest move to effectively clamp down on preaching, eating and drinking on its buses.
"It existed but was not as effective as the one we have now," Marketing and Communications Manager Clinton Clarke told The Gleaner. "We have a larger unit now that is more focused on its responsibilities to protect the franchise and to enhance and protect the revenue of the JUTC."
He further explained: "Protecting the revenue of the JUTC franchise is part and parcel of ensuring that the relevant regulations are enforced and, in fact, that is the way we intend to move on this."
As part of those efforts also, starting today, commuters will not be able to pay the concession fare for other passengers as the 'Pay for Other' feature will now only allow for payment of adult fares, a measure the company warns that it will be strict in implementing.
On the issue of preaching on the buses, which is now banned, Clarke said that the JUTC is well aware of the timetables of the bus preachers and would be implementing its clampdown to coincide with their schedules.
"The people who do those things are very well known. The routes and times they travel are also very well known. That is one of the reasons it will not be a difficulty for our Revenue and Franchise Protection Team to, I would not use the word nab, but ensure that they don't have that kind of impact on the buses," he disclosed.
More vigilant on eating
On the issue of commuters eating and drinking on buses, Clarke said drivers have been asked to be more vigilant and proactive in reducing and curtailing these activities which contribute to roach infestation.
In December 2013, Lenworth McCalla, general manager of the JUTC depot in Portmore, said the situation was created by passengers who hide and eat on the buses.
He said that although buses are cleaned nightly as part of the operational procedure, when food particles become stuck between the seats and are not seen and removed, it creates the environment for roaches on the buses.
Clarke says the drivers have been directed to play a more active role in cracking down on this specific activity.
"Our general managers have communicated to them (drivers) that they must insist on these things not happening on the units that they operate because they are really managing that space. In most cases, it's a single control unit and whoever is coming up on the bus, the driver generally has a view of that person," he said.
"So if the person is coming up with food or an open drink, the driver can say, 'Could you have the drink before you get in?' It's politeness and if we kinda try to enforce it that way and appeal to the
senses of the commuting public, it can work and it will work."