No concessionary rate without smarter cards, says JUTC
As the beginning of the school year approaches, the Jamaica Urban Transport Company (JUTC) is reminding parents and students that as of September 1, students without a smarter card will have to pay adult fares of $120 and not the student concessionary rates of $30 to ride its buses.
Clinton Clarke communications manager at the JUTC, told The Gleaner that the bus company will be initiating its cashless system on a phased basis, and has targeted the September 1 date as 'D-Day' for concessionary riders.
"They will have to pay the adult fare until they get the cards," said Clarke.
Clarke said the JUTC had been on an intensive programme in schools and communities of the corporate area to sensitize students and parents as to the upcoming changes that are to be made in its operations.
"What has happened is that a number of children already have their smarter cards and have just not topped them up or used them, so we have been encouraging (them), during this time, to top up the cards and use them."
No excuse for students
Clarke went on to note that since the bus company had acquired additional cards, remedying a previous shortage, there would be no excuse for students not to have cards by the September 1 date.
"We had run out of cards, so a lot of students had given us their information and we had created profiles for them, we are telling them to go to the smart-card locations now and get the cards and not wait until the last minute."
However, Heather Murray, president of the Jamaica Association of Principals for Secondary Schools, told The Gleaner that she felt the timing for the introduction of the cashless system was poor. She said such a move, at the beginning of the school, year, would only add to the frustration being experienced by parents.
"I would recommend to them that they don't start it at the start of the school year when people are already frustrated about finding school fee to send their children back to school, but have a grace period of at least a month. Those who don't have the card will then get the chance to catch on but don't just spring it on parents at the very start of the school year," Murray said.