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JUTC prepares for prolonged Coaster bus operators strike

Published:Thursday | December 5, 2013 | 2:05 PM

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) says it would be prepared to efficiently transport commuters in the Kingston Metropolitan Region if a strike action by Coaster bus operators does not end today.

The operators withdrew their services this morning to protest the decision of the JUTC to reduce sub-franchise routes.

They say the reduction will result in more than 2,000 direct and indirect persons being out of a job.

In response to the strike, JUTC chairman Dr Garnett Roper says 371 buses were rolled out this morning, with more to be added throughout the day.

He says the major difficulty would be faced by commuters between the Portmore and Spanish Town routes which are not serviced by the JUTC.

Meanwhile, the JUTC chairman says he has contacted the Finance Ministry requesting that it quickly finds the fiscal space to release 20 articulated buses awaiting duty waiver in order to go on the streets.

He says between now and next year December, an additional 130 buses will join the fleet of the JUTC which will mean less space for private operators in the transport region.

Roper doubts that 387 private operators will be forced out of business as of April 1 next year.

He says while the JUTC aims to cut that number to 250, seventy of the franchise operators have more than one bus.

The JUTC chairman says the company will not be deterred.

WATCH ... ON THE RECORD: JUTC near stability

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