Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Letter of the Day | Improve service, accountability at JUTC

Published:Tuesday | October 18, 2016 | 10:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I am one of the many Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) commuters who are subjected to the inefficient service of the bus company.

As the chief provider of public transportation, I would think that the JUTC staff would be more accommodating and competent, but it may be that because the JUTC is the main source of transportation why there is now such complacency.

It is sheer torture for commuters to rise from the luxury of their warm beds at 4 in the morning or to leave work in a state of fatigue in the evenings only to be left stranded at the bus stop while the drivers have their morning coffee or evening supper.

A perfect example of this dilemma was my own experience two weeks ago as I arrived at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre at 8:45 p.m. I was really exhausted from a gruelling day of school and relished the sight of two of my 17A route buses in the centre. However, I was mistaken in thinking that I would soon be on my way home, as 45 minutes later, I was still standing in the same position. This lengthy wait contributed to my already hurting back.

To add insult to injury, I could see the drivers indulging in conversation in the comfort of the air-conditioned units bought and paid for with taxpayers' money. The disregard for passengers' time must be addressed, as it affects productive society, including schools.

There is the additional distress of poor customer service by both drivers and supervisors. The old adage 'the customer is always right' has evidently been discarded, as the level of discourtesy meted out to the public is phenomenal. Drivers take no second thoughts in engaging passengers in heated arguments, even to the point of uttering expletives, while supervisors seem to be continuously clueless about the arrival of buses, as well as neglect to communicate delays in an appropriate manner.

The JUTC professes to run on a timely schedule, but it is a schedule that is rigidly ineffective and has resulted in loss of finances, loss of customers and loss of public reputation. Must we commuters continue to bear the brunt of incivility? As commuters have to dig deep into their pockets in order to travel to school and work daily, I think that a bus service which provides astounding service would make a vast difference in cushioning the financial blow incurred.

I strongly urge the company's leadership to reflect on its policies in terms of scheduling, as well as to retrain staff in the art of customer service skills. If the JUTC management team wishes to boost profits, it must first boost its level of service and reputation.

Is it too much to ask for employees to be held to a higher level of accountability so as to ensure that the motto 'Your Route to Excellence?' is credible?

SUZETTE WILKIE

Student, Shortwood Teachers' College