Im­prove ser­vice, ac­count­abil­ity at JUTC

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE ED­I­TOR, Sir:

IAM one of the many Ja­maica Ur­ban Tran­sit Com­pany (JUTC) com­muters who are sub­jected to the in­ef­fi­cient ser­vice of the bus com­pany.

As the chief provider of public trans­porta­tion, I would think that the JUTC staff would be more ac­com­mo­dat­ing and com­pe­tent, but it may be that be­cause the JUTC is the main source of trans­porta­tion why there is now such com­pla­cency.

It is sheer tor­ture for com­muters to rise from the lux­ury of their warm beds at 4 in the morn­ing or to leave work in a state of fa­tigue in the evenings, only to be left stranded at the bus stop while the driv­ers have their morn­ing cof­fee or evening sup­per.

A per­fect ex­am­ple of this dilemma was my own ex­pe­ri­ence two weeks ago as I ar­rived at the Half-Way Tree Trans­port Cen­tre at 8:45 p.m. I was re­ally ex­hausted from a gru­elling day of school and rel­ished the sight of two of my 17A route buses in the cen­tre. How­ever, I was mis­taken in think­ing that I would soon be on my way home, as 45 min­utes later, I was still stand­ing in the same po­si­tion. This lengthy wait con­trib­uted to my al­ready hurt­ing back.

To add insult to in­jury, I could see the driv­ers in­dulging in con­ver­sa­tion in the com­fort of the air-con­di­tioned units bought and paid for with tax­pay­ers’ money. The dis­re­gard for pas­sen­gers’ time must be ad­dressed, as it af­fects pro­duc­tiv­ity, in­clud­ing at schools. There is the ad­di­tional dis­tress of poor cus­tomer ser­vice by both driv­ers and su­per­vi­sors. The old adage ‘the cus­tomer is al­ways right’ has ev­i­dently been dis­carded, as the level of dis­cour­tesy meted out to the public is phe­nom­e­nal. Driv­ers take no sec­ond thought in en­gag­ing pas­sen­gers in heated ar­gu­ments, even to the point of ut­ter­ing ex­ple­tives, while su­per­vi­sors seem to be con­tin­u­ously clueless about the ar­rival of buses, as well as ne­glect to com­mu­ni­cate de­lays in an ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner.

The JUTC pro­fesses to run on a timely sched­ule, but it is a sched­ule that is rigidly in­ef­fec­tive and has re­sulted in loss of rev­enue, loss of cus­tomers and loss of public rep­u­ta­tion. Must we com­muters con­tinue to bear the brunt of in­ci­vil­ity? As com­muters have to dig deep into their pock­ets in or­der to travel to school and work daily, I think that a bus ser­vice which pro­vides as­tound­ing ser­vice would make a vast dif­fer­ence in cush­ion­ing the fi­nan­cial blow in­curred.

I strongly urge the com­pany’s lead­er­ship to re­flect on its poli­cies in terms of sched­ul­ing, as well as to re­train staff in the art of cus­tomer ser­vice skills. If the JUTC man­age­ment team wishes to boost prof­its, it must first boost its level of ser­vice and rep­u­ta­tion.

Is it too much to ask for em­ploy­ees to be held to a higher level of ac­count­abil­ity so as to en­sure that the motto ‘Your Route to Ex­cel­lence?’ is cred­i­ble? SUZETTE WILKIE Stu­dent, Short­wood Teach­ers’ Col­lege

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