JUTC to go rural in pilot phase
Starting in September, the Government will be rolling out a pilot three-route operation dispatching Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses to parts of rural Jamaica - from St Catherine to sections of Clarendon and near Manchester - for the first time.
Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry told Parliament yesterday that JUTC buses would be operating from Old Harbour in St Catherine to parts of Clarendon and close to Manchester.
Henry said the state-owned bus company would be rolling out buses to sections of south Clarendon, including school routes in and around May Pen, particularly Garvey Macro High in southwest Clarendon.
Illegal school buses
The minister said on this route, many reports of tragedies "involving undesirable and illegal school bus operations have emerged over recent years".
At the same time, the transport minister said he would shortly be revealing the true picture of the JUTC over the last four years. He said the company has been painted as a smooth-running and efficiently operated entity over that time.
In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament yesterday, Henry indicated that there was very good public relations and branding of the company but noted that "inside the entity is nothing like the glowing spectre that was painted in a recent pastoral declaration of how well revved up the bus company has been over the last four years".
Henry told members of the House that he would shortly be reporting on a management audit, which he had ordered.
"Jamaicans will be able to decide, on the basis of clear evidence - not the words of a political pastor - what the real situation is at the JUTC," said Henry in apparent reference to former chairman of the company, the Reverend Garnet Roper.
He charged that there was a mass breakdown of the JUTC's fleet over the last four years, owing to the lack of forward planning for bus acquisition.
In a May 15 article in The Sunday Gleaner, Roper described former managing director Colin Campbell's contribution at the company as path-breaking.
He said one of the outcomes was that the JUTC brand had become one in which the commuting public had begun to exercise some faith.