My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Licensed JUTC KMTR Franchise holders begin operation on April 8th 2014 - Attack of the Stone Throwing Jamaicans against JUTC State sponsored Terrorism again JATOO

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Licensed JUTC KMTR Franchise holders begin operation on April 8th 2014 - Attack of the Stone Throwing Jamaicans against JUTC State sponsored Terrorism again JATOO

Looks like the Injunction filed by the more than 300 Private Bus Operators failed to block the coming takeover of KMTR routes by the JUTC as I’d reported in my blog article entitled Mandatory SmarterCard Cashless System coming in March 2014 – JUTC Legal challenge NATO over Routes as JA$100 Wi-Fi needed to keep Unruly High School Students Happy”.

On Tuesday April 1st 2014, the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Corporation) took over the KMTR (Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region) from the more than 300 Private Bus Operators as stated in “Smooth JUTC takeover from KMTR minibuses”, published Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 11:28 AM, The Jamaica Observer.

In the process, the Ministry of Transport and Works is effectively forcing all the 300 Private Bus Operators to paint their buses in the same colours as the JUTC’s as noted in the article “JUTC dictates all KMTR buses be painted yellow”, published Friday, March 28, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.

The GOJ (Government of Jamaica) are also making sure that no Minibuses or Buses with less than a seating capacity of 15 persons are a part of the new KMTR Franchises as stated in “Operators want more time before retake of routes”, published Tuesday April 1, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Finally to top it off, it anyone is caught taking a non-complaint or “Robot” Bus or Taxi, they could face either a fine of JA$100,000 or six (6) months in Jail as stated in “$100,000 Or Six Months In Jail For Taking 'Robot' Vehicles, Says JUTC”, published Friday March 28, 2014 12:59 pm, by Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner. That is harsh but logical; you create the improved JUTC Bus system and now you need the public to support it, hence the need to impose fines in sake of Public Safety.

This based on a presentation on Monday April 7th 2014 in the House of Representatives Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton entitled “Motor Vehicle Import Policy” in which they laid out their intention to restrict the purchase, importation and transfer of Vehicle titles and ownership of these small minibuses.

JUTC takeover of KMTR – Franchise Requirements by the Numbers

So now’s a good time to get rid of these Minibuses, as the GOJ is trying to make the JUTC profitable via a takeover of the routes, with revenues coming in from the payment of licenses by the Private Bus Operators who have accepted the terms of their Franchises.

The following things need to be noted about the Franchises:

1.      JA$175,000 per annum is the cost of a KMTR Franchise License
2.      JUTC is to reclaim the 3, 17Express, 19A, 31A, 32 and 42 routes from the Private Bus owners

Of the 319 Private Bus Operators, only 43 took up the offer at that time on Tuesday April 1st 2014, citing the difficulty of finding funds:

1.      Paint their buses in the appropriate JUTC Colours
2.      Wearing uniforms and be generally neatly attired
3.      Issue Tickets to passengers
4.      Pay off their outstanding Traffic Tickets
5.      Have their Vehicles fully licensed, insured and Roadworthy

This new arrangement, after some teething pains, became effective officially a week later on Tuesday April 8th 2014 after a one (1) week extension was granted to the 319 Private Bus owners to regularize their Buses in order to qualify for a Franchise License.

Eventually by Tuesday April 8th 2014, 129 of the 319 Private Bus Operators having eventually ponied up the money to correct the above and be fit to take up the KMTR Franchises on offer as stated in “New sub-franchise system in full effect today”, published Tuesday April 8, 2014 8:36 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

That’s when the problems began and the Rock-stones began to fly!

JUTC and JATOO – Attack of the Stone Throwing Jamaicans against perceived State sponsored Terrorism

It was at that point that the Stone-throwing incidents began in what effectively was a War or words that broiled over into a pitched battle between the JUTC and JATOO (Jamaica Association of Transport owners and Operators), the association that represents most of the 319 Private Bus owners.

The first set of attack, 18 in total, occurred on Monday March 7th 2014 and Tuesday March 8th 2014 as reported in “JUTC set back by $2.5m after attacks on buses”, published Thursday April 10, 2014 by Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

It reportedly cost the JUTC approximately $2.5 million to repair, based on the statement issued on Tuesday March 8th 2014 by Chairman of the JUTC, the Reverend Garnett Roper, quote: “The incidents, which numbered 18 between yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday), caused damage to the buses. The vandalism included the smashing of the windscreens of two of the buses, breaking of two side windows in one of the buses, smashing of a door and tampering with the engines of two of the buses”.

The most recent stone throwing incidents occurred on Friday April 11th 2014 the Gordon Town, Papine Area and Heroes Circle close to Downtown Kingston as reported in “More JUTC buses attacked”, published Saturday April 12, 2014 by Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Attacks on JUTC buses continue”, published Friday, April 11, 2014 8:47 AM, The Jamaica Observer.

Apparently, one Franchise route had to be taken over by the JUTC in the Waterhouse area. That area is very volatile and is nothing like the calm, almost tranquil laid back atmosphere of Swallowfield. I often refer to Swallowfield as the Hidden Village of Konoha, due to the fact that you’d never know that people actually live beyond the Shopping Fa├žade presented at the front of Old Hope Road.

Good to note that one woe is passed. The second woe, which is the implementation of the JUTC’s SmarterCard Cashless Card System as described in my blog article entitled “JUTC to debut RFID & NFC Readable SmarterCard Cashless Bus Ticket System in April 2013 - The Last Stand for a Cashless Society to empower the Multi-Modal Concept”, it yet to come on stream.

Most Jamaicans will be a bit daunted by the prospect of having to give up their personal information to get a JUTC SmarterCard Cashless Card and still have to pay JA$300 to register to get this piece of plastic that can ONLY be used on the JUTC Buses.

I suspect that the Private Bus Operators will also have to implement their own system as well of stricter accountability, as they need to raise the needed JA$175,000 each year along with the other aforementioned fees to pay to maintain their KMTR Franchise Licenses.

Now we’re at War with the JUTC, the foot-soldiers of the Ministry of Transport and Works, I’m expecting it’ll be a long time before any Bus is safe for anyone to travel. For that reason, only walking is safe right now, and personally I’m glad I live within walking Distance from Half-Way-Tree, Cross Roads and Downtown, making travel long but pain-free.

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