My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JUTC and Rubis Energy Fuel Lawsuit Silver Lining - Why AVL Commuter Tracking of JUTC Buses and SmarterCard Heralds Cashless Society in Jamaica

Friday, November 14, 2014

JUTC and Rubis Energy Fuel Lawsuit Silver Lining - Why AVL Commuter Tracking of JUTC Buses and SmarterCard Heralds Cashless Society in Jamaica

“The JUTC has been the feeding tree for the dishonest for too long in its short history. We have had to put in systems to protect the revenue and property of the JUTC. There has been the stealing of fuel, batteries, tyres, spare parts and, of course, the cash resources of the company. We are not willing to create a space or a haven for dishonest people”

JUTC Chairman Garnett Roper during a JUTC Staff Meeting on Sunday November 2nd 2014

The JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) troubles seem to be never ending, especially as it relates to the SmarterCard System and Maintenance of their massive fleet of 445 Buses in the KMTR (Kingston and Metropolitan Region).

The latest is that they’ve been hit with yet another lawsuit by Rubis Energy on Friday October 3rd, 2014. Rubis Energy is suing the JUTC for some JA$47.4 million dollars worth of Automotive Fuel plus interest sold to the JUTC from the period October 9, 2013 to October 3, 2014 for which they’ve yet to be paid as stated in the article “Rubis Energy Hits JUTC With $Multimillion Suit”, Published Tuesday November 11, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

In the lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court, Rubis Energy asserts that that sold the JUTC some 337,000 litres of Automotive Fuel costing some JA$40.7 million. Apparently the JUTC only coughed up JA$831,409 and are yet to pay the outstanding balance of JA$39.9 million.

To this end, Rubis Energy is seeking via Court action to get the JUTC to pay up JA$47.4 million dollars, which is the cost of the Automotive Fuel plus $7.8 million interest for the period October 9, 2013 to October 3, 2014 since the September 2013 delivery, for which they'd given the JUTC 14 Day Credit.

JUTC and Rubis Energy - Lawsuits coming Left Right and Center with SmarterCard Silver Lining

This is bad.

The JUTC is already sinking in lawsuits, oweing some JA$48.7 million for a 2010 Crash and losing some JA$302 million monthly due to their slowly increasing maintenance costs as chronicled in my blog article entitled “JUTC SmarterCard improves - Why JUTC faces PAAC for Operations and Lawsuits Billions as KMTR Commuters Cashless Reprieve”.

JUTC Chairman Garnett Roper has since blamed the Drivers for causing their Legal problems, being as their driving style is the source of the majority of their litigation woes as noted in the article “Roper Blasts JUTC Drivers”, published Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer, published Monday November 3, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

In fact, during a JUTC Staff Meeting on Sunday November 2nd 2014, he likened the JUTC Drivers habit of tampering with the Bus in order to exceed the build 65km/h speed limit to travel at much faster speeds as being the equivalent of the Maroons when they were defending themselves against the brutish, likening it to Sabotage, quote: “We sometimes wonder if it is a form of petit marronage, to seek to bring down the Bus company from within. For what reason would workers in the company tamper with the tachometer on buses that are governed to go at a speed of no greater than 65kph in the city, and allow them to travel at a speed of 120kph, except to turn the buses into murder weapons?”.

The JUTC stats for October 2014 as reported by JUTC Chairman Garnett Roper are somewhat appalling:

1.      113 accidents involving JUTC buses
2.      90 Crashes per month on average since September 2013
3.      25% increase over the 90 crashes per month in September 2014

90 Crashes per month is unacceptably high. Even worse is the level of theft of everything from fuel, batteries, tyres, spare parts and money from the tilly. What's surprising is that the theft was AFTER the new, supposedly more secure SmarterCard System. To that end, they’ve had to fire some 75 Drivers and other staff who were implicated in breaching the SmarterCard Cashless system and stealing millions of dollars.

So albeit they are drowning in Lawsuits and slowly increasing maintenance costs, both of these problems are solvable by the company going private and floating a Bond with a fixed coupon Rate on the JSE (Jamaica Stock Exchange) and switching to LNG Fuel as I’ve repeated ad nauseum most recently 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”, there is a silver lining on the horizon.

The JUTC on Wednesday October 8th 2014 made a call for commuters who received some 9000 extra JUTC Cards to return them, as it was the source of JUTC ticket Fraud by Commuters travelling under Categories which they didn't belong as noted in my blog article entitled “JUTC urging KMTR Commuters to return 9,000 Extra SmarterCards - Adults committing Fraud using stolen High Schooler and Elderly Concession SmarterCards”.

Since uncovering the SmarterCard fraud in the week of Sunday October 26th 2014 after an Internal Audit, they’ve begun to see an increase of JA$3 million per day in JUTC Revenues from Fares as noted in the article “JUTC Sees $3m Revenue Increase Since SmarterCard Fraud Uncovered”, Published Monday November 3, 2014 11:11 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

So the turnaround is in progress as JUTC glacially pushes towards profitability!

JUTC Chairman Garnett Roper hints at AVL - Commuters tracking JUTC SmarterCard Cashless Buses

Even more interesting, JUTC Chairman Garnett Roper has hinted that they're close to implementing the AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locator) system that would allow not only the JUTC but commuters to know EXACTLY where the buses were via a smartphone App, quote “The company is putting itself in a position to know where every Bus is at any given moment and at what speed it is travelling and whether it is on schedule. Just as the operation of the company is time governed, so it is seeking to provide a platform for the city to operate on time and within time”.

I'd explained the working of the AVL and the fact that it may be possibly coming as an App on smartphones back in September 2014 as stated 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”.

The JUTC is now slowly lumbering towards the profitability as promised by the SmarterCard Cashless system implementation putting Jamaica on par with other parts of the world such as Sweden.

Sweden has already experienced the benefits of reduced Crime as everything from Trains to Buses to even paying for Rented Apartments is done via their Cashless System as noted in the article “Welcome to Sweden - the most cash-free society on the planet”, published Wednesday 12 November 2014 by Helen Russell, The UK Guardian.

That is the long term aim for the entire Jamaican Society, starting with the JUTC. But that's for another blog article, I’m afraid!

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