My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How JUTC's Automatic Vehicle Locator placates Jamaicans Commuters with Smartphones

Monday, September 1, 2014

How JUTC's Automatic Vehicle Locator placates Jamaicans Commuters with Smartphones

Today is Monday September 1st 2014, the day of the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) Amnesty for commuters to get their SmarterCard as explained in the article “JUTC announces amnesty for students, extends opening hours as it goes cashless”, published Sunday August 31, 2014 1:16 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

And yes, I’m still boycotting the JUTC as I think JLP Leader Andrew Holness, though justified, is really barking up the wrong tree, being as Bus fares in Clarendon where I’m from are sky high as per my blog article entitled “JLP plans islandwide Bus Fare Protests - Audit of the JUTC needed as JUTC may be Campaign Cash Cow for Local and General Elections”.

Queue the Rihanna Song Shut up and Drive as that’s what these JUTC Drivers need to do really!

This as confirmed by the Horses’ Mouth, The Jamaica Information Service in their article “JUTC Grants One Day Amnesty to School Children”, published August 29, 2014 By Alecia Smith-Edwards, The Jamaica Information Service.

I’m now just discovering that the SAME SmartCard Cards that were being used since 2002 are the NOT the EXACT same SmarterCard as per the historical information explained 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”.

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In essence, the new SmarterCard System is just an upgrade of the Card Reader System, BUT with NEW Cards called SmarterCards. In fact, I’m willing to bet it’s the same contractor that originally installed the SmartCard system, possibly now owned by another company that has taken up the Government of Jamaica and thus the Ministry of Transport and Work’s JUTC portfolio as a new client.

I’m heading out to Half-Way-Tree to top up the JUTC Smarter Card for the daughter of a friend where I live as per the instructions in the article “JUTC opens smarter card processing centre”, published: Sunday August 31, 2014 10:36 am, The Jamaica Gleaner. Trust me, I know I’ll be very disappointed once I reach Half-Way-Tree.

Chaos on Back to School Day –SmarterCard Chaos as KMTR gets 100 JUTC Buses and watches Petrol

I'm now reading that JUTC’s offices at East Parade in downtown Kingston are jam-packed with frustrated commuters who since 8am have been trying to get a JUTC SmarterCard as stated in the article “Smarter Card chaos, published Monday”, September 01, 2014 By Kimmo Matthews Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

So what will the JUTC be doing to reduce the costs of operating their Buses, seeing as they show no signs of any intention to conduct an audit?

So far, they're watching their fuel consumption, with a Fuel control Officer placed onboard each JUTC Bus to monitor the usage of Unleaded E10 as stated in “JUTC keeps watch on petrol”, Published Saturday August 30, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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This really sounds more like they created another job for more PNP Party supporters.

There are also placing another 100 JUTC Buses on the KMTR (Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region) Routes that are in need of Buses, bringing the Fleet total to 445 as stated in the article “JUTC to Add 100 Buses to KMTR Monday”, published  August 29, 2014 By Alecia Smith-Edwards, The Jamaica Information Service.

This up from the reduced numbers of 345 during the Summer of 2014, meaning that these additional 100 are just the same Buses, just refurbished and cleaned (hopefully?) in anticipation of the New School Term starting Monday 1st September 2014. Hope they fixed the Air Conditioning as well, as that's a real problem I've experienced i.e. the AC Dripping on me!

In addition, there will be schedules posted on the JUTC Website listing the Bus numbers and their routes, which will also be published in both The Jamaica Observer and The Jamaica Gleaner to quote JUTC Managing Director, Colin Campbell: “So, everybody will be able to buy a copy of the Gleaner, or the Observer on Sunday and you will be able to keep that schedule and select the route that applies to you. You will be able to see how many Buses are on that particular route and what is the frequency, what is the first arrival or first departure time in the morning, and you’ll be able to know that “on my route, there is a Bus every 10 minutes or every five minutes’ and you’ll be able to plan your life according to that schedule”.

JUTC's AVL – Are we There Yet as Vehicle Tracking may placate Smartphone toting Commuters

But it's their other innovation that has me interested, that being the JUTC's AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locator) as explained in the article entitled “JUTC to roll out Bus tracking system for commuters”, published Friday, August 29, 2014 BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

This AVL gonna make people really wanna take a JUTC Bus for the simple reason that once you have a Tablet and a Smartphone with the AVL App to access to the JUTC Website, you'll eventually be able in the future to track the location of any JUTC Bus simply by entering the route code.

Then a map will appear within the App showing you where the next Bus is and how long till another Bus on your route is on its way. JUTC may STILL not achieve the level of service where there is 1 Bus every 10 minutes.

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Best of all, you’ll not only be able to track Buses and possibly log complaints by the new System but a Lost and Found may be easily established now, both for missing children taking the wrong Bus as well as people who careless leave their valuables on the JUTC Bus.

After all, if the JUTC Bus is trackable and you have the ticket stub, you can use the JUTC Bus number on the JUTC Bus to locate and report what you lost, be it your little children or your valuables.

Suddenly in my prophetic vision I see the Lost and Found Department at JUTC getting bigger! But if this AVL System is implemented the right way, it'll be the ultimate way to placate smartphone toting complainers as it relates to the fare increase.

It’s not quite Free Internet and a Food Court upgrade I was hoping for from PAMS as described in my blog article entitled “PAMS to debut GOJ branded Food Court in Half-Way-Tree Transport Center - Making revenue from Unruly smartphone toting High School students via Cooked Food and JA$100 a week Wi-Fi Internet”, but this is good enough to please the most Tech-savvy among us!

At least they'll be able to tell EXACTLY where the JUTC Bus is, assuming they can read those tiny little maps on those little screens!

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