News

JUTC one big headache for Spanish Town commuters

BY SHANAE STEWART
Observer staff reporter
stewarts@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 26, 2019

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SEVERAL Spanish Town, St Catherine commuters have expressed that they believe the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) does not value them and has put more buses on routes that fewer people traverse.

The commuters say that each day they wait approximately an hour and a half before they are able to get a bus to go home after a long day of work.

An irate commuter who was waiting in a line at the Molynes Road, St Andrew bus stop last Friday evening, told the Jamaica Observer that every day he is faced with the same plight as he tries to get to Spanish Town from the Corporate Area.

“Mi tired of this now. Everyday mi cuss bout it. A wah? Spanish Town people annuh somebody? Fi every one Spanish Town bus that pass, you see about five 75 or 47. A only town people want bus? To be poor is a crime 'cause if me never poor me wouldn't haffi a go through this daily. Me woulda deh a mi yard in my bed.”

He continued: “Imagine me get up early and go work to make an honest living and when me fi go home me a wait two to three hours on a bus. You think it easy fi go work and come stand up pan roadside inna line for another two hours?” he lamented.

Oshean Lewis, who was also standing in the queue, joined in and shared her daily experiences.

“Some days you come and you might see a bus waiting, but other days you wait for an hour and half, especially on Fridays. There are several 47 buses. We see them pass, while we stand waiting on a Spanish Town bus. And the thing about it is you don't have many people travelling to those areas where you have several buses, like the 47. A lot of evenings I am here standing and in the 47 buses passing by, I hardly see anybody in there and I'm talking to and from.

“I guess this is happening to us because of poor regulation because even to get a bus from Cross Roads is problem,” she said.

Another commuter, who was also waiting, said she dreaded the start of the school year, which begins next week.

“We wait about an hour and a half every day. We work all day to come and stand for that long and then it is about another hour to go home. Imagine when school start back. It ago worse! It ago worse!

“I don't know, but something needs to be done,” she said. “We can't continue like this. The transport minister need fi do something fi we. This is beyond disgusting and unbearable now. Everybody can't afford a car or to take taxi. The least them can do is have a better system in place for those who have to depend on the bus.”

She added: “In the morning and in the evening is the same thing. If I could do better I wouldn't stand in this line ennuh. A torture this. You think this easy fi do everyday? Some of us have jobs where we have to stand all day and then when we leave work now and want to go home and rest, we haffi wait another two hours before we can get a bus. It rough on us.

“Every minute you see an empty 47 pass and look deh, me reach out here from about 5:00 and now is 6:20 and all now no bus nuh come. And then the man that is out here weh work with JUTC, sometimes him will say how a bus a come in 15 minutes and is almost an hour before one reach. We tired of the foolishness man!”

Shortly after this reporter spoke to the last commuter, someone in the line shouted at the JUTC liaison person on scene, “How long fi the next bus bossy?”

The man replied to the question: “Can't help you at all.”

When the Jamaica Observer contacted acting deputy managing director of operations at JUTC, Neville Francis, he said that although the number of buses that are placed on the roads during the summer period are fewer than what are normally put on routes during the school period, the wait time for a bus should not be over 40 minutes at any given time.

He added that with regards to the 23 route, which traverses Dunrobin Avenue, goes on Constant Spring Road and then into Half-Way-Tree, the roadworks might add to the waiting period for that route. However, he believes that the commuters travelling the Molynes Road route should not have that issue.

He also said that the Spanish Town routes are actually the strongest routes that the JUTC has, and that the company ensures that the required number of buses are always placed on the routes.

According to Francis, during the summer period there are nine buses placed on the 23 route, 10 are placed on the 21 route which goes along Molynes Road into Half-Way-Tree, and fives buses are placed on the 21B route, which goes along Molynes Road into Half-Way-Tree and then to Cross Roads.

He said that the 47 route only has seven buses in the summer period, which would be fewer than what the 23 and 21 Spanish Town routes would have during that time.

He also made mention that the company will have 415 buses across the island on various routes in the near future.


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