Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Angry vandals force JUTC to seek police help to protect $millions

Published:Wednesday | October 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen head of Traffic Division, greets Paul Abrahams, managing director of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), at a press briefing held at the JUTC depot in Twickenham Park, St Catherine, yesterday.

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has asked the police to help it secure its buses as it continues to lose millions of dollars to vandals who insist on stoning the public transportation and smashing the windows.

Over the past four years, the company has had to fork out approximately $50 million to repair buses, the company's communications manager, Cecil Thoms, told The Gleaner yesterday.

"Today we had a press briefing to raise public awareness about the vandalism of our buses. We've had 81 cases since the start of the year, compared to 28 last year, costing us in the region of $50 million for the four-year period."

"What we have done is re-engage the police to provide us with security and monitoring services. They will not be present everywhere, but a special team has been designated in our efforts. We are also be (through Crime Stop) offering $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and charge of persons who are found to be culpable of damaging state-run buses," Thoms said.

He suggested that many persons may have engaged in vandalising JUTC buses out of revenge against the system.

"I don't want to guess, but information we are receiving from the constabulary is that sometimes when PPV (public passenger vehicles) licences are taken (away), those people seem to orchestrate other persons to damage our buses. I am of the view that there are some non-thinking Jamaicans who may very well argue with a driver, and, in the episode of having their way, decide that they will perpetrate this kind of violence against us, which actually doesn't help anyone. It has wide-scale implications, like commuters' time being impacted and it is costly in the end."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com