Fri | Jul 19, 2019

Shoddy maintenance work could have caused bus fires, says JUTC

Published:Saturday | June 1, 2019 | 12:15 AM
Paul Abrahams, managing director, Jamaica Urban Transit Company.
Paul Abrahams, managing director, Jamaica Urban Transit Company.

Managing director of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Limited Paul Abrahams has warned that administrative sanctions would be brought against employees who carried out “poor workmanship” on buses that were destroyed by fire in recent times.

However, he indicated that action would be taken following due process.

Abrahams revealed that since the company intensified its monitoring and assessment of buses over the past two weeks, it has unearthed substandard workmanship, which may have caused two of the three fires.

In a news release from the state-owned bus company yesterday, Abrahams said that “it appears there are efforts to undermine the operations of the bus company – both internal and external. This includes attack on members of staff and its assets”.

PREVENTATIVE FIRE CHECKS

He explained that the JUTC carried out preventative fire checks over the past two weekends and found “instances of serious breaches, including ... fuel line being too loose beside a turbo and a rag that was used to tie a hydraulic line, among other displaced connections in the engine. These breaches can cause spontaneous combustion when in operation mode and may have prompted at least two of the three fires”.

Abrahams charged that the company was taking a zero-tolerance approach to the recent fires, warning staff that there should be no recurrence. He said that greater focus would be placed on quality maintenance of all units.

While investigations into the bus fires continue, Abrahams said that the findings to date are “startling”.

In the wake of the bus fires, the JUTC has established a fire-prevention team. It says that the main objective of this team is to ensure that all units are up to safety standards for the commuting public and that all procedures are adhered to.

At a meeting on Monday, Abrahams said that the fire team would report weekly on the faults they have found and the corrective measures they have put in place.

At the same time, the JUTC is appealing to members of the public to report any infractions by its staff or the public such as stone-throwing incidents, bus fires, and customer-service issues. The public may call toll free 888-588-2287 or reach the company on WhatsApp at 876-570-1789.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com