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.
An investigation has been launched into the untimely death of 44 year-old vendor Eletia Brown, who was fatally hit by one of our buses on Port Royal Street in Kingston yesterday afternoon.
According to reports, Ms. Brown was struck shortly before 5:00p.m.
The matter is being investigated by the Police and our Internal Accident Investigation Department.
The driver has been pulled from active duty pending further investigations.
On behalf of the management and Board of the Company, we would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Brown on their loss; and hope there will be a speedy investigation into this very unfortunate accident.
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 unequivocally denying reports circulating on social media, that the Chinese firm, CHEC, is to acquire the state run bus company.
The report is not only false, mischievous and malicious but comes at a time when the nation is grappling to contain the spread of COVID-19.
We take this opportunity to thank our frontline team of drivers, dispatchers and customer service staff for the tremendous work they are doing and continue to do in the face of adversity. Together, we will rise again and get pass this pause.
Finally, the JUTC has purchased Golden Dragon buses out of China more than three years ago, and the Company continues to have a healthy working relationship with its Chinese partners.