It will cost the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) $60 million, during 2010/11, to operate a free shuttle system connecting commuters in Parade to the new downtown transportation centre, when it opens on January 15.
Addressing the Infrastructure and Physical Development committee meeting Wednesday (January 5) at Gordon House, Managing Director at the JUTC, Paul Abrahams, noted however that this will come at no additional cost to the company.
"We will have control of the Parade area. We expect an increase in ridership in that area of approximately 30 per cent. So, although it is an additional expense to the JUTC it is already an operational item that is there, the operational cost is already built into our budget," Mr. Abrahams said. Under the new transportation arrangements for downtown Kingston, beginning January 15, the state-owned JUTC buses will be allowed to terminate at North, West and South Parade.
JUTC sub-franchise operators will terminate at the Pechon Street facility, which will be upgraded to facilitate the new arrangements, while rural buses plying routes from St. Mary, St. Thomas and Portland will terminate in Terminal One on Water Lane. In addition, Mr. Abrahams noted that adequate measures will be put in place to reinforce the new transportation arrangements.
"The rural operators will not be able to pick up passengers in the Parade area; they will only be allowed to disembark passengers on route to the centre," the Managing Director said. He added that there have been several consultations with the police high command, the Transport Authority and the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) regarding the issue. "We have been assured that adequate enforcement will be there to carry this plan forward," Mr. Abrahams said.
Assistant Vice President of Operations at the JUTC, Robert Harpaul, noted that 194 of the company's buses will be operating out of North, South and West Parade.
"All JUTC routes that use Parade will remain in Parade. JUTC routes from Portmore that usePechon Street, currently, will terminate in Parade (instead). Pechon Street will (then) basically accommodate the 250 sub franchise bus operators, as JUTC will no longer be there," Mr. Harpaul said.
The new transportation arrangements are being finalized ahead of major ongoing redevelopments in downtown Kingston.