I'm having a serious problem with how the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) runs its operations. On October 16, I arrived in downtown about 6 p.m., and when I arrived, an empty 99 express was in the lay-by. It left shortly after I arrived, with most of its seats empty.
Then the very same 78EX I just took came into the lay-by and changed to a 99EX. So I go over and tell the driver, "A 99EX has just left empty. Why would you choose to run a 99EX instead of a 97EX?" He tells me he doesn't have enough emergency tickets to run the 78EX route again and he prefers to run 99EX. I ask if he chooses his routes and he tells me yes.
After half an hour, that bus leaves, yet again all the seats are not taken. Another 15-minute wait and we finally see a 97EX, and more than 40 persons rush to the bus. But to our dismay, it changes to a 99EX. I'm completely irate by this time.
So when the driver opens the door, I tell him two buses have just left and they were empty and ask why he could not just switch back. He refuses to listen and shakes his head.
By this time, I'm boiling mad. I try to find a supervisor (who always seems to disappear after 5 p.m.) and, thankfully, a man from the mob points one out to me. I approach him with my complaint and he finds it appropriate to ignore me, brushing me off by speaking to a driver.
Maybe because I'm this tiny-looking young woman, but it certainly only made me more angry. I persist with my complaint because I need a solution or a response. He, after several minutes of me cussing, finally decides to reply, and tells me the driver's shift is almost over, to which I ask if that means he chooses which route to run, and he tells me yes.
I continue to complain (not very quietly) and other persons start to chime in. The supervisor proceeds to cuss the man who had pointed him out to me, saying he watches him every day, etc. I tell the supervisor it doesn't matter to me what the solution is. Oh, the road to Bull Bay has a blockage, blah, blah, blah.
Why is it that a bus operator who works for a company which has schedules and systems can just switch his route at his own whim and fancy? Why is it that it is obvious that the 97EX bus would have been filled with passengers paying their full fare, but out of laziness the driver refuses? How is that efficient? Why is it that a so-called supervisor can't have the sense to see this? Why couldn't the supervisor tell him to switch back?
It would appear to me as a business student that the JUTC's governing policy is one of individualism and laziness. That the drivers are individual contractors who get to choose their routes. That the employees have no concern to meet the needs of its commuters. That they seem to forget that we are the customers and they are the employees and, as such, we should be treated with respect.
No respectable business is run this way.
Bull Bay, St Andrew