JUTC warns of delays amid bus, taxi strike

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The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has warned that commuters will face delays because of the increased pressure it is facing as a result of the ongoing strike by bus and taxi operators.

The operators withdrew their service in protest of the Government not granting an amnesty to facilitate easier arrangements to pay for outstanding traffic tickets.

“We’re aware of the strike and acknowledge the challenges it is causing the commuting public,” said the JUTC’s Corporate Communications Manager, Cecil Thoms.

Thoms acknowledged that the JUTC is undergoing its fair share of challenges, but said “we’re operating… we’re appealing to our commuters to be patient, as there will be delays with the increased demand.”

He disclosed that the state-owned bus company received some long-awaited spare parts last Friday, and its maintenance teams worked over the weekend to ensure that as many of the 250 buses the company has at its disposal were dispatched on Monday morning.

At its peak, the JUTC was dispatching well over 400 buses daily within the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR), but that number has dwindled significantly over the years as buses fall into disrepair and it takes longer for aging units to be replaced.

“We’re doing the best we can with the resources that we have,” said Thoms as he expressed hope that “good sense will prevail and the strike will end soon”.

Meanwhile, Thoms also pleaded with passengers not to rush the buses in order to secure a seat. He pointed to the dangers of passengers running alongside the buses as they approach the lay-bys at operating points like North and South Parade in downtown Kingston, and asked the commuters to desist from the practice.

He said the passengers are putting themselves at risk, and should instead wait until the buses come to a complete stop before approaching the units, in order to avoid injury to themselves.

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