The Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) wishes to set the record straight amidst reports that have surfaced about overcrowding at the Half Way Tree Transport Centre, the Downtown Hub and a number of its Lay-bys. These instances of stranded commuters are being attributed to mismanagement and a shortage of buses.
The JUTC has always acknowledged the chronic shortage of buses to service the requirements for passenger lift within the two very distinct peak periods daily. Corporate Communications Manager, Cecil Thoms says with there being no exemptions to the JUTC, the curfew has restricted the operating hours of the bus company. “What we have is a situation where significant shortage of buses has been compounded with a seated-only policy and a concomitant increase in commuters at the Centre between 4:30pm and 6pm daily, resulting in a passenger rush at the end of the permitted hours of operation” Thoms said.
He noted that the Company is working aggressively to ensuring that outer points that support the Centre provide greater inflows as best as possible to meet demand. However, the absence of dedicated bus lanes, signal prioritization at traffic lights and queue jump lanes means that the cycle times increase with an increase in traffic on the roads. Therefore, while every effort is being made to ameliorate the situation there can be no guarantees in the transit times from the outer points to the Centre.
Meanwhile, he noted that while both gates at the Centre are closed at 5:30pm, there are no restrictions on buses to enter or for passengers, if seats are available. But, from a security standpoint, a decision has to be taken daily to close the gates based on the assessed departure time for the last runs of the day along the various routes. These times are available from the JUTC’s website and other social media platforms.
“We are appealing to passengers to download our last trip departure schedule which is available on our website so that they can better manage their daily commute for the remainder of the curfew, as well as to wear facial masks to protect themselves and other commuters. Also, employers and commuters can help us by better planning their days so that everyone is not in the Centre at the same time standing in long queues” Thoms said.
The management of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited, JUTC, is advising the public that its corporate office located at Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, will be closed today, Tuesday August 25, 2020 and Wednesday August 26, 2020. This, after two additional staff presented with flu-like symptoms who may have had interactions with an employee who yesterday was confirmed as COVID-19 positive.
The closure should not affect our depot which is located on the same property and or the service provided by our drivers said Corporate Communications Manager, Cecil Thoms. “To be clear, only the administrative staff has been sent home. Our drivers and dispatchers are still on the job. As we did yesterday, we will again ensure the deep cleaning our buildings. “ Thoms said.
In addition to that, we are seeking to have the Health Ministry come in to test employees, as well as to help us conduct the necessary contact tracing to mitigate any potential spread. We are not taking this lightly and are doing everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and by extension the public at large.
Yesterday, the corporate office was shuttered following the confirmation of a Covid19 case.
All things being equal, we will resume normal operations of our corporate office on Thursday, August 27, 2020.
Please note, that should commuters have any queries or concern re-schedules, they may call our customer service number at 876.948.4240 / 876.570-1789 or visit our website at www.jutc.gov.jm and our social media platforms (@jutcltd) for updates.
Keep safe and remember to wear a mask when using the JUTC.
An employee of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited, JUTC, has tested positive for Covid-19.
The employee who came in contact with someone who had the virus has been in home quarantine since Monday, August 17, 2020 after complaining of not feeling well. The staff member did the Covid-19 test on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 and got back the results today confirming a positive case.
In keeping with our own established protocol, the JUTC this morning suspended administrative operations at its corporate office in Spanish Town. The suspension of operations will allow for deep cleaning and sanitization of buildings.
We are also in touch with representatives of the Ministry of Health.
Please note, that this should not cause any disruption to our transportation services.
Our corporate offices are scheduled to re-open for normal operations tomorrow, August 25, 2020.
We once again urge members of the public to take all the necessary health precautions for their personal safety and that of other commuters and to wear a mask when using public transportation.
Consequent on the announcement of a new curfew that will take effect tomorrow Saturday, August 22, 2020 beginning at 7pm until 5am through to Wednesday, September 2, 2020, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited, JUTC, is advising the public that its operating hours will be impacted.
Buses that would normally be dispatched from as early as 4 in the mornings will now be done at 5am. This means the first commute will likely take place at or around 6am. While between 7pm and 8pm buses are to be taken back to their depots without passengers.
We take this opportunity urge passengers to not wait until the last minute to transact business and to be at the bus stop as early as possible, as some routes take up to two hours to complete. We are also encouraging commuters to top up their smartercards to eliminate the use of cash and to wear their masks for the entire length of their journey.
The new curfew will be imposed in Kingston & Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendom and St. Thomas.
SPANISH TOWN, St. Catherine, Jamaica: We find it necessary to respond to allegations made by Opposition spokesman on Transport Mikhael Phillips in a video in which he claimed there are inadequate face masks and hand sanitizers for drivers. This is inaccurate and misleading. We wish to enlighten the Opposition Spokesman about what we have done and continue to do to fight the coronavirus.
The safety of our staff and commuters is our number one priority. Since the announcement of our first COVID-19 case in March, the JUTC has activated its emergency protocol to guide and direct its response. These include the following measures:
Temperature checkpoints: A handheld thermometer is used to check the temperatures of all staff members and visitors entering our facilities. Should there be an anomaly, this would trigger the Health Ministry’s protocol.
Sanitization: Buses are cleaned per cycle trip at terminal points (Half Way Tree Transport Centre and North and South Parades), while depots and high-touch areas are cleaned twice weekly. In addition, we have also installed sanitization dispensers on buses as another layer of protection for passengers who may not have their own sanitizers. Dispensers are also installed across the operations of the company at strategic points.
Protective Personal Equipment: We continue to purchase items such as sanitizers, anti-bacterial soap, alcohol and masks. We have sufficient supplies in our inventory at the moment. These are provided to staff including drivers upon presentation at work or when requested. The company has also made it mandatory for all passengers to wear a mask to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition to the aforementioned, and to afford some degree of protection to our drivers, we have cordoned off the first two seats immediately behind the driver. We have also installed a prototype ‘cage enclosure’ around the driver which is being explored as a long-term measure for the safety of our drivers who are sometimes assaulted by members of the public.
The Company has also established a COVID Command Centre which monitors the logistics of our entire operation and provides daily reports. This will continue for the foreseeable future until the risk and threats posed by the disease have been abated.
It is clear that we have been agile in our response to COVID-19, and will continue to fulfil our mandate with the resources available to ensuring that our staff and the public at large remain safe. That is our number one priority at this time. We remain ready to brief Mr. Phillips about the operations of the company at his convenience to avoid such a recurrence in the future.