JUTC says fare reduction decision will not affect its earnings

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has declared that the decision to reduce the new fare for senior citizens to travel on its buses will not cause a major dent in its coffers.

JUTC Chairman, Garnet Roper, said the change to the fare table will shave off  about J$100 million annually in projected revenues.
However, he says the State-run entity will still be able to break even this fiscal year.

“Put this way, what we will not do is end up with any cash deficit on the operation …it’s as close to a win win that you can get in all the circumstances with a twenty dollar reduction,” Roper stated.

In the wake of  intense opposition the Government on Friday changed the bus fare increases, which take effect tomorrow.
It reduced the senior citizens fare from J$60 to J$ 40.

The other announced fares of  J$120 and the J$30 concession fare for children, students and members of  the disabled community will still go into effect.

In the meantime, the Parliamentary Opposition is not satisfied with the change made to the JUTC's new fare structure.

Spokesman on Transport, Dr. Horace Chang, says there are also conflicting signals from the Government amid a promise that it would respond to concerns about the impact of  the increase.

“Based on the last report, noting significant has been done, yes some concession has been made to pensioners but clearly it’s inadequate and t hey still have not answered some fundamental questions, but this is definitely not acceptable at this point in time.”

And trade unionist, St. Patrice Ennis, is concerned that no change was made to the regular fare for JUTC passengers.

 He believes more could have been done by the Simpson-Miller administration especially for workers facing wage restraints.

“We speak about many other cost issues affecting workers, several things have not been resolved, this adjustment by the government will not in anyway assuage their mood at this point in time,” he said.

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