Sun | Jun 16, 2019

Time to revive the rail system

Published:Thursday | March 7, 2019 | 8:15 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

As the Government contemplates its options to make the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) viable, it is now an opportune time for the resumption of rail transport to be placed firmly on the national agenda.

Transport by train is the most likely solution to the inefficiency and massive losses by the JUTC, and is also a solution to the slow pace of travel in the Corporate Area – especially during rush hours – and the resultant waste of millions of work hours, which drives down Jamaica’s productivity.

Especially now that Jamaica’s debt-servicing obligation is going down – freeing up more funds for capital development – and given that the Government is in an infrastructural development mode, it is time to consider the building of rails no different from the building of roads.

PHASE BASIS

The construction of this system could be on a phased basis, beginning with the busiest JUTC routes. The cost of this system could be greatly reduced if current road construction and repairs could be done with provisions being made for rails to be accommodated later on.

These rails could be placed on stilts in some places, and in other places be placed on the ground or underground.

By operating trains, the JUTC could add to its profits through also transporting cargo. This project would be a lasting and most significant legacy for which, I believe, the Government would be credited for many generations to come.

It is time to make another of the bold moves necessary to make Jamaica great once more. The reconstruction of a railroad network and the use of trains in public transport, and for transporting cargo, will go a long way in reviving JUTC and move Jamaica into the 21st century and beyond.

WINSTON FOSTER

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