Fri | Aug 17, 2018

JUTC Smarter Card unreliable

Published:Saturday | September 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Please permit me to shine a light on the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Smarter Card system. I really don't think the intention is to become cashless, but rather for concession passengers to pay J$120.

On Wednesday, September 17, my son misplaced his concession card. I called the JUTC and was advised to have the card blocked and request for it to be unblocked if it was found. I was further advised that there was nothing they could do with regard to him getting home, so if he couldn't pay the adult fare, he would literally be stranded. He paid $240 to get home to Portmore from Calabar.

Told to wait three days

I was told to wait three days to collect a new card from the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre, which I thought was ridiculous because I had to find $480 for bus fare in the interim. I tried to query the matter, but met up on all kinds of roadblocks. I was told to speak with management, marketing, etc., but received no response to my calls and emails.

The card was located at school on the 18th. However, as it takes 24 hours for the block to take effect and another 24 hours for the unblock, I was required to find $960 for those two days.

The card was still blocked on Friday afternoon.

I took the card to the transport centre myself on Saturday, for it to be checked. I was told it was fine and I even added money to the card. My son went to school on Monday and returned home - with the card. At the time of writing on Tuesday, September 22, the card was again blocked, resulting in my son being stranded in Half-Way Tree from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., (LATE FOR SCHOOL), only to be told the card was fine.

There is no one at the JUTC on whom you can depend for a sensible response. Everybody repeats the same 'this is not supposed to happen, but ...' story. What sense does it make to have a system that your customer-service personnel don't understand? What's the point of having a computerised system in place with people's personal information yet you can't make allowances for a misplaced card?

As I stated previously, the idea behind the concession card is for as many concession passengers as possible to pay $120.

This is all kinds of ridiculous!


Portmore, St Catherine