Up to Friday, March 28, only 43 or 13 per cent of the 319 operators approved to operate under the new Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) sub-franchise system, had done the necessary due diligence to begin operating on Tuesday, April 1.
This was noted by the JUTC’s Managing Director, Colin Campbell, at a meeting with the licencees on March 29, at the Elletson Road Police Station, in Kingston.
Mr. Campbell implored operators who have not yet done so, to submit their documents to the Island Traffic Authority and have their buses colour-coded according to the stipulations of the new agreement, by the April 8 deadline.
The meeting was held to facilitate dialogue between the JUTC and its licencees to ensure a seamless transition on April 1.
He reminded the operators that although the implementation date is April 1, there will be a seven-day grace period for non-compliant operators to regularize their operations.
Mr. Campbell said the police are fully aware of the grace period and will not impose any sanctions during that time.
The Managing Director advised the licencees that they will be required to sign a contract that outlines the responsibility of the parties in the sub-license arrangement, and explained that the contract will be valid for a period of one year, and that renewal for periods of one, three or five years will be based on performance.
Operators who expressed concern that they may not be able to become compliant by the given deadline were assured by Mr. Campbell that representation will be made on their behalf to extend the deadline, at a meeting with the Police Commissioner on Monday, March 31.
Mr. Campbell said that the JUTC team will be meeting with the Commissioner to outline the enforcement issues they have experienced over the years, and told the operators that, “the same interest we have in the JUTC buses is the same interest that will be shown in yours.”
Manager of the JUTC’s Franchise Protection and Inspection Department, retired Senior Superintendent of Police, Radcliffe Lewis, informed the drivers that they will be taken through the route familiarization process at the earliest possible date, to ensure that no one deviates from the routes during operation.
The sub-franchise licencees were reminded that based on the new requirement that they wear an identification card issued by the JUTC, they will be entitled to some of the privileges of JUTC employees, such as riding JUTC buses free of cost.