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!