Taxpayers to give $3b support to JUTC
Taxpayers will be called upon to fund a $3-billion bailout for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) this year.
The disclosure was made in the Jamaica Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the 2016-2017 fiscal year that was tabled last week in the House of Representatives.
The JUTC expects to make $5.5 billion in revenue this year, but is expected to incur expenses amounting to $10.5 billion.
With the $3 billion bailout, the JUTC is expected to incur $1.8 billion in losses.
It's been the norm over the years for taxpayers to be asked to prop up the state bus company that serves mainly the Kingston and St Andrew region that has a population of approximately 662,000.
Colin Campbell, JUTC managing director, says that situation will continue as the bus company operates on a subsidy model.
The JUTC is projected to transport about 70 million passengers this year, with almost 30 million expected to be subsidised passengers.
Children, the elderly, the handicapped and students benefit from subsidised fares on the buses.
Meanwhile, come September, some 30 China-made buses will be added to routes in rural St Andrew. The other five will be used in the bus service for the Port of Kingston.
The additional buses will cost the JUTC $500 million.
Campbell says last year's testing of the comparatively smaller buses went well.