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We can hold our own - JUTC boss

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE MANAGING director of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), Paul Abrahams, has given an upbeat diagnosis of the ailing organisation's balance sheet, suggesting there will soon be an improvement in its financial health.

Abrahams premised his projection on the rollout of 55 new buses and a possible increase in bus fares.

"For the first time, we believe we can hold our own and we think that for the first time we may be looking at some greener pastures come the end of the fiscal year," Abrahams told
The Gleaner
last week.

Jamaica has committed, in its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to increase bus fares by 40 per cent. The Government also said the bus company would be embarking on a move to increase the efficiency of the loss-making entity.

Abrahams said the management team at the JUTC has been practising cost-cutting methods long before the IMF agreement.

"We have, consistently, over the past year and a half, been looking at areas to cut cost and create to efficiency and the team has been doing a good job," the managing director said.

The JUTC has projected to reduce operational losses from $1.2 billion in 2008-2009 to $590 million at the end of this fiscal year. Abrahams did not disclose the state of the JUTC's accounts, even though he admitted that the cash-flow problem facing the company has forced management to adopt a "crisis management" approach.

"In light of not having a fare increase since 2005, dealing with an ageing fleet, we have somehow managed to settle down a lot of the problems that the JUTC has faced in the last five years. For the first time, the JUTC faces a healthy position," Abrahams said.