Transport Minister welcomes JUTC’s fleet enhancement with new buses Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport (MSETT), Daryl Vaz, is welcoming the arrival of 12 new CNG buses to bolster the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) fleet, marking a significant advancement in the Government’s commitment to the transportation sector.

The new buses arrived in the island on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, and were cleared at the Kingston wharf.

Minister Vaz said the procurement and deployment of these CNG buses exemplify the Government’s dedication to modernizing public transportation sector and alleviating some of the burdens faced by commuters.

The Minister expressed his enthusiasm about the fleet expansion, stating, “I am in fact elated to confirm that 12 new CNG buses were taken off the wharf today (April 10) plus the 6 that arrived in January of this year which will put us at 18 with 2 more to arrive in May.

Those are specially outfitted for the disabled community. That would be 20 buses. When you look at the 50 buses that came in last year July that were ordered under the stewardship of Minister Montague and then Minister Shaw, that was 50 buses, 45 diesel and 5 electric that a value of $1 billion. These 20 CNG buses, $650 million, that would be $1.65 billion that has been returned to the people of Jamaica based on our good fiscal responsibility.”

The Government has allocated $2.6 billion for the procurement of 100 additional buses to improve the experience of the commuting public. Minister Vaz commended the collaboration of past Transport Ministers and the Finance Minister in realizing this milestone.

“Minister of Finance committed to the procurement of 330 buses to be exact, so we have an additional 230 buses that are going to be ordered up to Fiscal year 2026 at a cost of $4.5 billion. Total spend with the 100 buses, the 70 buses before, and the 230 buses, would be almost $10 billion to one entity to provide good transportation for the travelling public committed to by this Government. That is unbelievable, some would say”, stated Minister Vaz.

Minister Vaz further emphasized the Government’s continued support for the public and that the additional buses will arrive in time for the back to school period in September 2024.

“I can confirm that the 100 buses I committed – CNG Buses – are now in production. Deposits have been made and they will be in production from April 5 and May 10th which means they will leave China at the end of May and arrive here (in Jamaica) by the end of June for July and of course back to school in September. That would be 170 new buses in 18 months. 50 under the previous Ministers, and 120 in less than one year, under my stewardship.” Minister Vaz said.

In addition to bolstering the JUTC Fleet with 12 new CNG buses, Minister thanks the public for their understanding as the JUTC continues to prioritize initiatives aimed at improving service, reliability, accessibility, efficiency and overall passenger satisfaction.

“You will recall I asked the country and especially commuters to give me 6 months – that was in December 2023 – and I can say I am well on track to give them the improvements that they so deserve for the sacrifices they have made. And I can say without fear of contradiction that when these 100 buses arrive here by the end of June we will be in a position to replace the average age of 14-year-old buses that are not economically viable or efficient and we will be able to reduce the waiting time and also target specialized routes that need additional buses to allow for the waiting time to be reduced significantly”, noted Minister Vaz.

Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport noted that the Ministry is aware of the challenges being faced by the public, as more announcements will come in relation to what can be done to ease the burdens of the transport sector, specifically taxi operators in light of the fact that the additional 16 percent increase which should have taken effect on April 1, has been postponed.

The Minister finished by saying, “The 6 months I guaranteed improvement is well on track and I just ask for patience and of course the three C’s – Collaboration, Communication and Consensus. That is how I am driven to perform”.