Sun | Jan 21, 2018

JUTC No. 66 buses unreliable

Published:Tuesday | July 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM


As a commuter living in Kingston, sometimes I travel on the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses in the mornings to work. Lately, the experiences have been rather unsatisfactory.

On more than one occasion, I have hopped on to the No. 66 bus that runs from Hermitage to downtown Kingston, only to be told that the machine that processes the tickets is either jammed or dysfunctional. Regardless, my bus fare is still collected and pocketed.

One morning, while in transit, the bus shut off and refused to restart. We had to sit in the bus while it crawled for a part of the journey until, after multiple attempts to restart the bus, the engine revved to life. We all breathed a sigh of relief.

For fear of another mechanical failure, the driver drove past many commuters and was even reluctant to stop to allow people to disembark at their destination. He seemed to be in great haste to finish this route and park the bus for servicing. At least, I hope that was the intention. This is a hazard to the safety of passengers as the cause was unknown, and it is also a threat to productivity.

In the mornings, people are either travelling to work or school, and both groups have time obligations. Tardiness is not tolerated in these environments. A continued failure to meet the needs of the people will fuel the thought of unreliability, a contrast to the type of service expected. This destroys a mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the commuters, who are seeking value for their money.

I am particularly concerned about the lack of accountability of money that can result from the jammed machines. Without a ticket being processed, the driver doesn't have to account for that $100 that is handed to him. As a result, drivers can easily 'mek a money on di side'.

If the JUTC intends to make maximum earnings from its service and increase the level of accountability of its drivers, these irregularities must be addressed. These incidents underscore the need for proper maintenance.