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.