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.
The Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited, JUTC, is advising that in keeping with the Transport Authority’s moratorium, an extension has been granted until May 29, 2020 for the payment of sub-franchise fees. The fees were originally due March 31st but operators were granted an extension to April 15th.
Corporate Communications Manager, Cecil Thoms, says we are aware of the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on operators and thus it was important for us to empathize with them in giving them additional time to generate the funds, as we all navigate these challenging times.
We continue to urge operators to be safe and healthy, as well as respect the practices necessary to safeguard their well-being and members of the public.
The Jamaica Urban Transit Company, JUTC, says all passengers are now required to bring and wear their own protective masks as the cases of COVID-19 increases. Passengers who fail to wear a facial barrier will not be allowed entry on buses.
This requirement takes immediate effect and is to ensure the comfort, safety and wellbeing of each passenger and our staff.
Passengers are also reminded to respect the personal space of others and observe social distancing where required and to comply with other safety measures as announced.
In addition, we advise that passengers will only be carried between 6:00a.m. and 6:00p.m. in keeping with the restrictions announced by the Government recently.
Kindly note that for hill routes (Above Rocks and Border) including 52, 53, 54, 61 their last run will be at 4:30pm.
For all other routes the last available bus will be at 5:00p.m. Buses will return to the depot between 6:00p.m. and 7:00p.m. without passengers.
Meanwhile, the JUTC is advising that it can facilitate the transportation of government entities and companies which provide essential services. Arrangements should be made no later than 6:00p.m. daily. Contact our COVID Command Centre at 876.587.9206 or 876.587.9290 or via email – Operations @jutc.com.jm for further information.
We will review these measures where necessary and adjust accordingly as we continue to monitor the situation.
The Jamaica Urban Transit Company, JUTC, is advising the public that following the announcement by the Government of a one-week lockdown of the parish of St. Catherine, it will ONLY be facilitating the movement into and out of the parish of essential workers. The lockdown which began at 5am this morning will run until April 22, 2020, is in the wake of a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Deputy Managing Director in charge of Operations Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Godphey Sterling says persons who are non-essential workers will be accommodated to pursue the essentials of life within the parish but that is to be done within the stipulated time. He says while the hours of operations for the JUTC remain unchanged, commuters in St. Spanish Town and Portmore should take note of the following –
- Between the hours of 5:00am and 8:00am today only personnel in the essential services may ride the buses with appropriate identification.
- Between 8:00am and 10:00am only persons 65 yrs and older, pregnant persons and the disabled may ride the buses within the parish of St. Catherine.
- Between 10:00am and 1:30pm persons with surnames beginning with the letters A to M may ride the buses with appropriate identification.
- Between 1:30pm and 5:00pm persons with surnames beginning with the letters N to Z may ride the buses with appropriate identification.
- We are prepared to provide a shuttle type service within the municipality of Portmore between areas of commerce and population centres between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm. Provided there is a demand.
- We will review these measures where necessary and adjust accordingly as we continue to monitor the situation.
During the one-week lockdown, there will be 2 days to pursue the essentials of life. Medical emergencies will be treated with as they arise. These days are Wednesday, April 15, 2020 and Saturday, April 18, 2020. We are appealing to persons who are not classified as first responders or essential workers to stay home as we work towards containing COVID-19.
The Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC), wishes to advise the public that we will operate as normal despite the curfew.
This comes in the wake of concerns expressed by our stakeholders following our earlier statement regarding operational changes due to the curfew.
The JUTC wishes to apologize to its valued customers who may have been forced to make alternative plans based on the information sent out yesterda
The company continues to play its part in providing valuable transportation services to the public including members of the essential services.
We will continue to monitor the situation and update the public accordingly.
We urge persons to continue to monitor the media for updates on our operations.
Be safe, be safe, be alert in this COVID-19 pandemic as we all work to contain the spread of the virus.
This statement supersedes our earlier release yesterday.