Opposition chides gov't policy to reduce inflation with JUTC fare cut

Opposition Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson
By Clinton McGregor    
Shadow Minister of Finance and the Public Service Julian Robinson says attempts by Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke to fix breaches of the inflation target by a reduction in Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus fares was a bad policy decision.
According to Mr. Robinson, the People's National Party is not surprised at Wednesday's admission by Bank of Jamaica Governor Richard Byles that the fare reduction is less likely to have any major effect on inflation
"At the very outset, we indicated to the government that this policy was not likely to succeed, mainly because the JUTC only serves a small percentage of consumers within the Kingston Metropolitan Area. The other parishes outside of the corporate area, persons have to rely on taxis and Coaster buses to get around. And the JUTC is only operating at 30% of its capacity, where it's only turning out 180 buses a day from a target of 500. So the impact would always be minimal in terms of reducing inflation, particularly when taxi fares have gone up and are projected to go up even further on April 1st."
He added that the government's decision has caused a further worsening of the financial status of the state-run bus company which is projected to lose $16 billion this financial year.

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