My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JUTC SmarterCard Launch not very Smart – Purchase, top-up options for KMTR commuters

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

JUTC SmarterCard Launch not very Smart – Purchase, top-up options for KMTR commuters

I went to the Half-Way-Tree Transport Center and as I expected, I was disappointed as per the articles “Chaos and long delays to get Smarter Cards”, Published Tuesday September 2, 2014, by Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Mad rush at Transport Centre for Smarter Card”, published Monday, September 01, 2014 7:43 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

The AVL’s a good idea by the way  as I’d described the concept 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”. More on that in another article when they ACTUALLY launch the AVL App!

But back to reality…..

I arrived at 12noon to see a crowd basically swamping the Transport Center, despite the fact that there was a sign stating a plethora of other locations that travelers could go to top up their JUTC SmarterCard or purchase one for JA$300.

Please note my Boycott is still on 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”, as Fares in the Clarendon and the rest of the country are already sky-high. I was just representing my friend’s daughter in order to get her SmartCard refilled!

But dear reader, this was Jamaicans at their worst!

JUTC in Chaos – KMTR commuters have until Sunday then it’s straight SmarterCard Cashless

Pushing and shoving, with frequent line cutters at the front meant the line I was in was going nowhere. Finally after 2 hours, I was eventually shown by a JUTC employee the correct place downstairs in the Basement of the Half-Way-Tree Transport Center.

It was at that point that I discovered that the older SmartCards could not work and that I had to get the NEW and IMPROVED SmarterCard! After 2 hours, albeit the fault was really mine, as the names on the cards are clearly different, I discovered nonetheless to my dismay that I had to purchase a new Card after all.

Vexed, I vowed never to return.

At least, not until Sunday September 7th 2014 as stated in “JUTC now accepting cash payments until Sunday”, published Monday, September 01, 2014 7:37 PM, The Jamaica Observer. As after that date, no Cash will be accepted on the JUTC Bus. So begrudgingly, I might have to purchase one.

JUTC SmarterCard Launch not very Smart – SmarterCard for Children at School ONLY

Clearly the JUTC needs help, both in terms of staff numbers as well as in planning.

The main problem I see is in the method of getting the word out as it relates to where you can get your SmarterCard. Albeit there was a sign stating this clearly at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Center, from as far back as Summer 2014, advertisements should have been placed in The Jamaica Gleaner, The Jamaica Observer, CVM TV as well as on Television Jamaica.

Clearly the JUTC made no use of Social Media aside from their JUTC Website which isn’t even smartphone friendly enough to browse through comfortably. JUTC needs to engage the services of a Marketing Company!

As for getting the SmarterCard itself, the JUTC should have gone directly to Schools and registered students and issued Cards there as I’d argued in my blog article entitled “JUTC SmarterCard Cashless System to be implemented in the Fourth Quarter of 2013 - Upgrade buses to use LPG Fuel to reduce Maintenance costs”.

Granting children a one-day free ride on the JUTC as stated in “JUTC Grants One Day Amnesty to School Children”, published August 29, 2014 By Alecia Smith-Edwards, The Jamaica Information Service to come to ONE Jam-packed location to get a single item that EVERYONE, including Senior Citizens and adults want, was a recipe for disaster.

Adults should be the ONLY persons at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Center.

Also there’s NO NEED for GOJ ID and to surrender my address to get what’s essentially a bus token, the MAIN reason why I’m very apprehensive about applying for one. Not so comfortable with what the JUTC could do to victimize me if they knew where I live, as they are known to discriminate against people this way.

JUTC SmarterCard Top-up – No different from Topping up your Digicel phone

As for Top-up, there should have been an option for persons with a Bank Accounts to go to any ATM (Automated Teller Machine) of their choice and top up their SmarterCard 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”.

This is in similar to how Telecom Providers allow persons to purchase Credit via the ATM and was the same idea as mentioned in my blog article above.

Those persons would therefore use the ATM, making the crowd at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Center smaller. Even better, Mobile Money Platforms similar to Digicel Haiti’s Cho Cho Mobile as described in my blog article entitled “Digicel to roll out Mobile Money Service in 2014 - Haiti Tcho Tcho Mobile Love is Bringing the Boom with ScotiaBank heralds Cashless Society by 2015”.

For commuters without a Bank Account, the JUTC should have vendors, both stores and on the road selling JUTC Credit in a manner similar to how Digicel sell Credit in at the VERY SAME Digicel store in the Half-Way-Tree Transport Center i.e. via Vendor top-up.

That way, buying Credit for your JUTC Card should be no different and any less convenient than topping up your cellphone as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel’s Green Tick ‘Pay The Right Price’ Campaign”.

Still Boycotting JUTC – PNP Cash cow for Local and General Elections needs an Audit

I hope the JUTC succeeds in what they’re doing, despite their evil political machinations of funding the PNP (People’s National Party) as per my accusation in my blog article entitled “JUTC SmarterCard Rollout and Fare Hike Postponed – Why I'll be boycotting JUTC Buses anyway as they're not trying to Save Money”.

The SmarterCard System will reduce losses due to theft as well as make them operate more efficiently. An external Audit as recommended by former Attorney General Greg Christie in the article “Greg Christie Backs JUTC Audit”, Published Monday August 25, 2014 1:18 pm by Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner would verify where the money is really going.

More importantly, they’ll be able to offer other services to the passengers, such as Frequent Driver Miles just for travelling on the JUTC Buses as I’ve described in my blog article entitled “JUTC rolls out SmarterCard September 2014 - How JA$20 allows Unruly sex-crazed High School Children and Elderly to Travel and reduce Theft”.

Sunday is the last day of Cash. After that the JUTC will go Cashless. Visit the JUTC Website for more details!

No comments: