Busted up buses - JUTC admits some vehicles are in bad shape
Communication manager at the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), Cecil Thoms, said the myriad of challenges facing the State-run bus company was made evident late last week when passengers on one bus were forced to pull out their umbrellas inside the vehicle to shelter from the rain.
“The JUTC operation is very dynamic with many challenges. The picture (of the passengers) that has been dominating social media proves that point,” Thoms told THE STAR. “We want the public to know that the challenges are many and the particular bus that is in question is 15 years old which means it is aged. Now, this bus ideally should not be in the system and as time passes it will be taken out of service.”
According to Thoms, old units like the one in question are not used every day, but only when there is an increase in demand.
He also argued that the challenge the company is facing with its fleet has been exacerbated by the recent attacks by members of the public.
“Those persons who continue to vandalise our buses create these kind of problems because we have quite a number of buses that are down because of vandalism,” Thoms said. “These things are equally aligned.”
The 'umbrella' incident has caused customers who have encountered similar circumstances on the state run buses to voice their frustrations.
Jahmiel Haughton, who spoke to THE STAR outside of the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre last week Friday, said once he was coming from school and got drenched by rain water while standing in an elongated JUTC bus.
“I was coming from downtown ... it was totally packed so I had to stand where the connection is in the middle and a bang of water just start run and the place get 'mucko mucko',” Haughton recalled. “Mi uniform did totally wet and you don’t even get a refund or anything like that.”
Another passenger, Dennis Williams, had a similar encounter.
“Today (last Friday) I was travelling on the bus and it was leaking. Mi affi a wipe water out of my face. It was one of the long bus them.” Williams said he was not the only person who got wet and noted the water appeared dirty.
Marsha- Lee White said she has never been wet by rain in a JUTC bus, but the constant dripping from the air conditioning unit has been a nuisance.
“Sometimes you in the bus and A/C unit water wet you up or the seat get wet and you just uncomfortable,” White said.
Thoms told THE STAR that there is a rigorous maintenance programme now taking place to correct the air conditioning problem.