The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is now the beneficiary of 50 new Volvo buses.
The buses were handed over to the Ministry of Transport and Works/JUTC on Friday, January 30, 2009 at a handing over ceremony at the Digicel Parking Lot on Lady Musgrave Road.
Each of the new buses cost EUR 251,300.00 and possesses cutting edge GPS tracking devices as well as other fleet management security features. The right hand driven Units are all of stainless steel quality, structurally, with a seating capacity of 53 passengers, plus the driver and a guide.
Additionally, the engines of the buses are of six cylinder, four stroke turbo-charged diesel dimension, with overhead valves and direct injection, which are consistent with the European requirement, Euro 3. Other features include a six-speed, fully automatic gearbox and electrical system, with the buses being programmed to be driven no faster than 70km per hour. The braking system and suspensions are likewise, electronically programmed and controlled.
The buses are equipped with state-of-the-art music systems; the music to be played on board the buses will be limited mainly to classical and other background type music, within the regular government bus service. The Units are all fully air-conditioned while the seats all have upholstered squabs and cushion, with integrated hand grasp on top.
This batch of buses is the first of 100, the rest to arrive in April. Interestingly, this set of buses are all painted yellow, in contrast to the white of the rest of the JUTC’s fleet.
In addressing this particular issue, Minister Henry said that this is because the concept of colour coding within the public passenger transportation service is now officially under way. “Yellow is to be the base colour for the service nationally, with other colours to be selected to represent at the regional or county level, followed by a wider spread of colours at the parish level,” the Minister explained.
Continuing, the Minister said, “ Colour coding will allow for easier identification of public passenger vehicles, the types of services being offered, and the area of operation that is applicable to each unit. The introduction of these new JUTC buses as the pilot to the broad colour coding system to taxi operations, are being finalised. The impact should be seen across the island, with different types of services transitioning to the new colour system, beginning in the Kingston Metropolitan Region (KMTR) and Montego Bay.”
Minister Henry also highlighted the work being done in terms of the widening of roads to facilitate the expansion of the bus service and ultimately a freer flowing traffic environment. He cited the Marcus Garvey Drive corridor where such an improvement has already taken place. Others slated for this treatment are Hagley Park Road and Dunrobin Avenue.
Work is also scheduled to occur on the placement of bus stops in the KMTR as well. The Minister said that the matter is under examination and should eventually help to foster the kind of commuter comfort and operational efficiency that is being sought for.
Also speaking at the ceremony was the Belgian Ambassador, HE Frederic Meurice who expressed his pleasure at being associated with the expansion of the JUTC bus fleet. He said that his Government was pleased to partner with the Jamaican Government in development programmes and pledged to continue doing what he and his Belgian colleagues could in improving the relations between Jamaica and Belgium.