Two Persons Injured and Five Buses Damaged in Stone Throwing Incidents Last Night

Five buses were damaged and two persons injured in a spate of stone throwing incidents in Three Miles, St. Andrew last evening. A driver and a female passenger were wounded from windshield fragments to their eyes. Their condition is not considered life threatening.

In recent weeks, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) has come under increased attacks by vandals. In Three Miles alone, the JUTC has recorded 29 incidents. Of that number, 19 occurred last month. With less than two months to go before the close of the year, there are 69 stone-throwing incidents. The windshield and side glass were mainly damaged in these incidents. In 2020, the Company recorded 63 stone-throwing incidents for the entire year.

Over the period, the company embarked on numerous initiatives aimed at curbing the incidents but with limited success. This morning at an emergency meeting to discuss the latest developments, Managing Director Paul Abrahams said the damage to the five buses at the same location requires special security intervention. “We have to take some bold decisions as the vandalism of our buses in quick succession is affecting our operations and our ability to serve the commuting public. These attacks seem to be deliberate and coordinated and as such we must further engage the Police High Command with a view to immediately arresting this serious problem,” Mr. Abrahams noted.

The JUTC Managing Director also instructed that with the scale of the matter, even more strident measures have to be taken to include the use of private security contractors and the use of technology.

 It was suggested that a temporary suspension of service in the location be done, but this was placed on hold pending an assessment of the number of people that would be affected.

In the short to medium term, the Managing Director has given instructions for the re-engagement of Crime Stop to assist us in arresting this problem.

Hotspot areas for stone throwing incidents include sections of Three Miles, Bull Bay, Marcus Garvey Drive, Windward road in the vicinity of Paradise Street and Vauxhall High School, (note portmore) and Spanish Town Road.

JUTC Driver Stabbed After Foiling Robbery

A driver employed to the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) who was stabbed on the weekend after foiling an attempted robbery in downtown Kingston, was released from hospital yesterday.

It is understood that sometime after 2pm on Saturday, the JUTC driver who had been waiting in the vicinity of the Ward Theatre, observed a woman being accosted by a male assailant who attempted to relieve her of a cell phone and other personal belongings.

The driver made an alarm and intervened after seeing the man physically assaulting her. The would-be robber then attacked the driver stabbing him in his right shoulder and abdomen. The attacker fled the scene.

The injured driver drove himself to a dispatch point where he was assisted to the hospital by police officers. The female victim did not receive any stab wound from the perpetrator.

Corporate Communications Manager Cecil Thoms says “this unfortunate incident once again highlights the myriad challenges that our drivers face when they venture out.” He added “Crime is a feature of the Jamaican society and our drivers are not immune to its impact. Rain or shine, our drivers are mandated to transport people and this assault is just symptomatic of a wider ill. We are grateful that our driver is still with us and we’re providing all the support he needs to recuperate.”

“We salute his bravery, but at the same time encourage our drivers to be vigilant as they do their work. It is also the Christmas season and so there is heightened commercial activity. I’m encouraging our commuters to be mindful of their surroundings and not to flaunt jewelry or money whilst travelling,” the Corporate Communications Manager noted.

Pleaseee stop damaging our buses – JUTC calls for the public to help

For many years, the JUTC has battled with stone throwing incidents, that is, vandalism of buses which has caused injury to some of its drivers and passengers alike. It has also resulted in spending millions of dollars to repair broken windscreens and bus infrastructure. Over the past three years, the problem has been exacerbated! These incidents have caused massive dislocation resulting in buses being down for inordinate periods of time, as spare parts which are not available here has to be sourced overseas. This not only affects the operations and the ability of the Company to generate much needed revenue but also the public i.e. productivity.

A brief summary reveals that since January 2018 to October 2021, there have been 311 incidents of vandalism. The year 2018 is the highest on record with 99 incidents reported. This is followed by 2019 with 95 incidents. The JUTC also received reports of 63 cases in 2020. With two months to go before the close of 2021, already there are 54 reported cases where the windscreens of the buses were mainly damaged in these incidents. An analysis of a report by our Security Department reveals that from August 10, 2021 to October 16, 2021 most of the stone throwing incidents occurred in the Three Miles Hunts Bay Police Station area.

What is very alarming from that report is that a driver last week sustained a minor injury to his shoulder in the execution of his duty. Fortunately, most of the drivers have not sustained any major injuries. However, this does not mean that our drivers are not psychologically affected by these incidents. This practice creates an unsafe working environment for them. The practice is not only dangerous to our drivers but also commuters. Imagine boarding a bus en-route to work in order to provide food on the table and while peacefully seated, someone throws a stone inside the bus hitting you above your right eye. While you try to create a mental picture, that was the reality for one of our passengers in 2018. That was not the only incident involving the public, as several other incidents have resulted in injury to other passengers.

We continue to engage the police in putting an end to this criminal practice. We have also partnered with Crime Stop and have offered rewards to put an end to this nonsensical and heinous practice. As we have done before, we are again appealing to the public to report these incidents. A JUTC bus cost an average 30 million Jamaican dollars. It behooves every well thinking Jamaican to protect this asset. Anyone with information that can assist with arresting those responsible, are being asked to report it to the nearest police station. Persons with information may also contact the JUTC at 876-570-1789 via WhatsApp or via our social media platforms. Pleaseee stop stoning and damaging our buses!

JUTC & Ministry of Health to Stage Vax-up Day at Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company Ltd in partnership with the Ministry of Health & Wellness will on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, mount its first vaccination effort dubbed Vax-Up Day at the Half-Way- Tree Transport Centre, St. Andrew.  It will run from 10am – 7pm.

Corporate Communications Manager at the JUTC Cecil Thoms says “it is clear to us that as a group interacting with members of the public daily, we must play our part in ensuring the safety and well-being of our staff, passengers and families.”

Mr. Thoms added that “Over the past two weeks or so, we have been working closely with the Ministry of Health in staging a series of sensitization and awareness forum virtually, to ensuring that information is available to our staff. In these sessions, employees were able to ask questions and get answers on the spot from medical professionals,” Mr. Thoms said.

Continuing, Mr. Thoms noted that “Vax-Up Day is to encourage our team and the general public at large to get vaccinated as we look towards being with family and friends for the Christmas and beyond. The longer there is vaccine hesitancy, the longer it will take for us to return to a semblance of normalcy,” he added.

The Ministry of Health will be providing 1st and 2nd doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the single dose Johnson and Johnson.

The JUTC is encouraging commuters who are yet to be vaccinated to use this opportunity to do so. Walk with your government-issued I.D. and remember your vaccination card, if you are receiving your second dose.

Participants will be refreshed by Catherine’s Peak, Nestle and Mighty Malt.

The JUTC continues to urge the public to adhere to the established COVID-19 guidelines to limit the spread of the virus.

JUTC – Limited Service During No-Movement Days

SPANISH TOWN, St. Catherine: The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) will be operating a limited service for essential and frontline staff during the seven (7) no-movement days, which will take effect on Sunday, August 22, 2021 .

Corporate Communications Manager Cecil Thoms says the service will be available from 5am to 7:30pm during the period of the no-movement days. “We have revised our operations due to the reduced demand for our service that is expected during the no-movement period. Essential and frontline workers can access our revised operating schedules on our website and our social media platforms for information on the various routes,” Mr. Thoms said.

The bus company wishes to advise that with the curfew being extended today to 9pm that buses will be available until 8:30pm to facilitate essential workers who may leave work late and need to do last minute shopping. On days when the curfew is at 8pm, the last trip for all routes will be at 7:30pm.

“We are encouraging commuters to take note of the curfew times and NOT to wait until the appointed time to get their business done. Let me also say that on the no-movement days, we will be operating with a skeleton staff, with only essential workers being on the ground to include bus drivers and members of our maintenance team,” Mr Thoms continued.

Meanwhile, the JUTC’s ticket office will be closed on no-movement days, but will reopen on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 for commuters wishing to top-up or block lost or stolen SmarterCards. As such, we are appealing to commuters to top up their SmarterCards in advance.

The JUT C is urging commuters to wear their masks, ensuring that their noses are covered for the entire length of their journey when using public transportation and to adhere to the established health protocols. Keep safe and stay alive.

Download Limited Service Routes & Departure Times Here