Approximately 100 new buses are to be added to the fleet of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) by the end of January.

This was disclosed by Managing Director of the JUTC, Paul Abrahams, at the sitting of the Infrastructure and Physical Development Committee, at Gordon House, on January 5.

He further pointed out that the 100 buses should be in operation by March, before the start of the next financial year. The buses will also be used as a tool to improve and increase the revenue stream of the company through advertising on the buses. Mr. Abrahams informed that an agreement has "just been signed and the buses should start advertising soon."

He pointed out that advertising is already available for the inside of the buses, and that this will be going out to tender shortly. He added that there is also electronic advertising on the screens inside, which should also be going up for tender shortly.

Meanwhile, in an effort to continuously increase the efficiency and delivery of service to customers, Mr. Abrahams said that a new fare system will be coming to replace the machine system currently in use.

"The system speaks to both cash and cashless. It will be a hard card system, like the current Smart Card, and it can also accommodate a disposable card, which is like the phone card. I believe that convenience and distribution is critical, and what has happened to the old Smart Card system is that the (locations) where you would top up this card are few and far between, and this has hampered the progress of the card," Mr. Abrahams said.

"We eventually hope to move towards a cashless system, but in my surveys across the world, there is no public transportation system that is fully cashless. However, they are all embarking on a cashless programme. There are discussions going on right now in the company as to what is the best way to approach the new system," he added.

Mr. Abrahams informed that a pilot for the new system should be underway in three to four weeks on the Premium buses, with possible implementation by October 2011