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Passengers without JUTC Smarter Cards to pay more for bus fare

Published:Thursday | July 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter

PASSENGERS WHO travel on Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses will have to pay an extra cost for bus fare as at September 1, if they do not use a Smarter Card to pay for their journey.

Deputy managing director of operations at the JUTC, Kirk Finnikin, revealed that no commuter, including the disabled, the elderly and children, will be exempt, as the bus company aims to phase out cash for travel.

"We don't have a problem for persons to access the concessionary fares, but that has to be done using the Smarter Card," he insisted.

Finnikin made it clear that commuters need to purchase a card by the deadline or they will have to pay more or pay in full to travel.

"We are not going to turn back any passenger from our doorstep, but we are seriously lobbying to ensure that there is one flat cash fare to be paid by a concessionary passenger," he explained. "So we are saying, if you want to pay that $20 concessionary fare that you are entitled to, but you don't have a Smarter Card, you will have to pay a full cash fare."

Finnikin said the company will remain firm in this initiative and will not be giving any leeway to commuters.

"We will not be in a position to accept any excuses. In order for us to succeed, we need the support of our ministry, because there is a guideline as to how fares are charged, and we would need their decision for our September 1 start," he told The Gleaner.

He explained that the JUTC is working to have the number of locations for the purchase of Smart Cards increased from 18 to approximately 100 by the September 1 start date.