Newly appointed chairman of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), Douglas Chambers, has been asked to help reduce the massive loss that the government-owned bus service is wracking up.
The JUTC loses $100 million per month, according to Transport and Works Minister, Mike Henry.
The minister told journalists at yesterday's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House that Mr. Chambers, a chartered accountant of the accounting firm Chambers, Henry and Partners, has been asked to make the JUTC an efficient company.
Mr. Henry said Mr. Chambers has taken leave from his company to take on the job. He said the Government will be entering into a contract with Mr. Chambers for which he will be paid $1.
A portion of the JUTC losses comprises the subsidy paid by Government to offset the cost for the disabled, children and pensioners.
"What you need to do is that you keep that subsidy in a manageable proportion so that it will not cost the consumer through wastage, leakage. That is what the board of the JUTC has been asked to address.
"If they do not perform, then we will remove them," Mr. Henry said of the new JUTC board. He added that the composition of the new board will be reviewed in 18 months time.
The JUTC has been severely criticised for poor scheduling of the buses on some routes and the undesirable physical state of many buses in its fleet. Many persons have opted not to take these buses until the ills are corrected.
Yesterday, Mr. Henry agreed that unless the JUTC improved its service delivery, it would be difficult for the company to increase its revenue.
This has resulted in the company embarking on a "massive refur-bishing programme" to revive, not just its image, but to replenish its diminishing fleet of buses.
According to Joan Barnett, head of communications at the JUTC, the organisation has experienced a severe reduction in its original fleet of buses over the years. In 1999, the company rolled out approximately 500 new buses, this has now been reduced to between 250 and 300 buses. The other half of its once boastful fleet, she said, was off the roads undergoing repairs.
JUTC board of directors
President - Ryan White
Chairman - Douglas Chambers
Financial analyst - Dennis Chung
Principal financial officers - Rae Barrett, Max Leiba Williams
Other officers - Ann-Marie Rhoden, Victor Green, Ian Wilkinson, Paul Abrahams and Calvin Samuels.
A consumer representative is to be apppointed to the board.