THE EDITOR, Sir:
I write to bring to public knowledge a pattern of undesirable behaviour among a relatively small number of commuters using the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) service. We do acknowledge that, similarly, the commuting public has been exposed to a less-than-desirable level of customer service from a handful of our staff members.
While not all wide-scale, some of our operators have reported instances of being assaulted or otherwise abused by commuters in the following forms:
Being stabbed, chopped or otherwise attacked with sharp instruments, leaving at least one operator possibly permanently disabled.
Having food items, including ice cream and drinks, thrown into their faces by commuters who were told that no eating is permitted on the buses.
Being regularly threatened with physical harm by commuters.
Being verbally abused for 'driving too slow' in the estimation of some commuters.
These overall acts of alleged commuter aggression against some bus operators have created some level of strain in their interaction with the commuters, with some operators at times developing an ultra-defensive disposition.
In trying to curb such tendencies, including situations where drivers have refrained from wearing seat belts because they feel there is a need to be able to readily defend themselves against aggressive commuters, we are seeking the public's understanding.
Commuters must realise that the welfare of all on board is intrinsically in the hands of the operator of the vehicle. Therefore, it is in the interest of both the operator and commuters for a harmonious relationship.