My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How JUTC will earn JA$30 million per day from JUTC Prepaid SmarterCard Launch

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

How JUTC will earn JA$30 million per day from JUTC Prepaid SmarterCard Launch

“We have tried to clone the exact situation for the successful prepaid top-up phone- cards, which means in the same way that E-Pins has a distribution network for top- up of telephone cards, our Smarter Cards will be available through the same network. So, when you go to top up your phone-card, you can now buy a prepaid bus card,”

Managing Director of the JUTC, Colin Campbell, commenting on the Prepaid Smarter Card rollout on Friday October 30th 2015

Not fond of the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) SmarterCards?


I personally do not like the JUTC SmarterCard especially as you have to give up so much personal information as per my compliant in my blog article entitled “JUTC's AVL and Chaos on Back to School Day – How JUTC's Automatic Vehicle Locator may placate Smartphone toting Commuters who ask Are we There Yet”.



That was back on Monday, September 1st, 2014 and it was so bad I had to go back the following Tuesday September 2nd, 2014 after I went back home to get the required identification in order to get the SmarterCard.

So wouldn't it be nice if you could buy cash for your SmarterCard like you add credit to your smartphone? Also wouldn't it be nice if that money could be spent to purchase other things, like a Debit Card?

This is exactly what the JUTC has done, partnering with Transactions E-Pins, a mobile money provider to create a paper based Prepaid SmarterCard as reported in the article “Another cashless option for JUTC commuters”, published Saturday, October 31, 2015, The Jamaica Observer

The Prepaid Smarter Card was launched on Friday October 30th 2015 at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre by Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr Omar Davies. The idea is that it'll win over skeptical adults like me who pay JA$120 by making adding money to your SmartetCard more like topping up your smartphone.

In addition to the Prepaid SmarterCard Service, the JUTC is also extending the special JA$100 fare until Thursday December 31st 2015 as reported in the article “JUTC extends special fare”, published Saturday October 31, 2015, RJR News Online.

In the process, they hope to increase revenue to the JUTC, to quote Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr Omar Davies: “Utilising this cashless system moves us towards a greater percentage of the fare being seen in the treasury of the JUTC”.

With some 255,000 commuters who travel on the JUTC daily, this translates to JA$30,600,000 per day of additional revenue for the JUTC.

So how does this Prepaid SmarterCard Work?

How JUTC will earn JA$30 million per month from JUTC Prepaid SmarterCard Launch

JUTC and Transaction E-pins will partner to sell Prepaid Smarter Card at eighty one (81) various locations through the KMTR (Kingston and Metropolitan Transport Center) and comes in the following denominations:

1.      JA$300
2.      JA$600
3.      JA$900
4.      JA$1,800

It works exactly like it sounds; you go to your regular locations as well as additional locations created by Transactions E-Pins and buy a thermally printed Prepaid SmarterCard to pay your fare on the bus.

So alas, no this isn’t a case where you can top up your SmarterCard by dialing a special USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) Code on your smartphone e.g. *121*#.


Rather it’s really a convenience for infrequent travelers on JUTC buses won don't want to invest in a SmarterCard but don't want to walk with Cash as noted in the article “JUTC introduces another cashless pre-paid paper card”, published Friday May 15, 2015, RJR News Online.

The money purchased is transferrable to your next Prepaid SmarterCard or to a regular plastic SmarterCard. Digicel is apparently going to be among the locations to sell the Prepaid SmarterCard, as they'll be part of a soft launch during Saturday October 31st 2015 and Sunday November 1st 2015.

This sounds very similar to the idea I'd suggested after I'd been frustrated with the process of getting a JUTC SmarterCard last year in September as written in my blog article entitled “JUTC SmarterCard Launch not very Smart – Options for KMTR commuters needed to purchase and top-up SmarterCard before Cashless Sunday”.  

The difference with my idea was that it involved being able to top up your SmarterCard using a USSD Code on your cellphone or smartphone using either your Debit Card or a Mobile Money Platform.

So does the JUTC have anything else up their sleeve for Jamaican this Christmas 2015?

JUTC needs to launch a JUTC App - Why Mobile money AVL with Free Wi-Fi are potential perks for JUTC commuters

‏First off, I’m glad to finally see the JUTC taking my suggestion.

Hopefully to, they'll also implement the AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locator) as demonstrated by JUTC IT Manager Brian Tulloch as show in the video below.


Would be a great complement to JUTC Bus routes finally being on Google Transit in Google Maps as described in my blog article entitled “JUTC Google Transit from UWI Computer Science Department - Why Google Maps is the next step towards an AVL”.

Combining both of these great perks into a JUTC App would also make it possible for a future secure smartphone based Mobile money platform to pay your fare on the JUTC Bus.

This JUTC App will thus allow the commuter to not only to locate where specific Bus for their route is at the moment as explained in my blog article entitled “JUTC's AVL and Chaos on Back to School Day – How JUTC's Automatic Vehicle Locator may placate Smartphone toting Commuters who ask Are we There Yet” but also pay their fare with this JUTC app.

Best of all, such a JUTC App could also be used to authenticate users on a Free Wi-Fi Service in the future as described in my blog article entitled “Wi-Fi on JUTC Buses in September 2015 - How extended 2015 Summer Promotion will increase revenue by JA$4 million daily”.

Folks, with this announcement of Prepaid SmarterCard, anything is possible for the JUTC!

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