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Reconstructed buses could boost JUTC fleet

Published:Friday | January 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nearly 350 "severely damaged" buses that were discarded by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) could be put back into service depending on the outcome of a pilot project now being conducted.

With a seating capacity of 50 passengers each, this could add over 17,000 seats to the public transportation system.

Explaining the project, JUTC Public Relations Manager Reginald Allen said one of the discarded Volvo buses was sent to Brazil where it was reconstructed by the manufacturer.

He said the bus was returned to the JUTC recently and had been placed on the Kingston to Bull Bay route, where it is being monitored by local experts.

In addition, the JUTC public relations manager said the organisation had got assurances from the manufacturer that reconstructed buses could last up to eight years.

"So if this project goes forward, it would be like we are getting new buses at one-third of the cost," said Allen, adding that the project would be completed in 60 to 90 days.

New buses

Allen also disclosed that 200 new Volvo buses, ordered last year, were scheduled to start arriving in the island in March. This will add a further 10,000 seats to the system.

"Between the new stock and the new life we are adding to the old ones, if the project goes forward, we may not need to buy another bus for several years to come," he said.

All of this, Allen said, would significantly boost the JUTC's fleet and provide greater reliability to commuters.