JUTC says fare mix-up not wide­spread

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Tameka Gordon Busi­ness Re­porter tameka.gordon@glean­erjm.com

THE JA­MAICA Ur­ban Tran­sit Com­pany (JUTC) says it recog­nises that some stu­dent com­muters who have com­plained of be­ing charged the adult fare on a few of its routes might have been af­fected by glitches in its sys­tem, but says the prob­lem is not wide­spread.

Some stu­dent com­muters have com­plained that their JUTC SmarterCards have been deb­ited adult fares de­spite rid­ing the buses on week­days while dressed in uni­form.

Stu­dent com­muters pay a con­ces­sion­ary rate of $30 on JUTC buses, while adults pay $100. Gleaner Busi­ness has been pre­sented with tick­ets show­ing adult charges for stu­dents of the Caribbean Mar­itime In­sti­tute (CMI) for week­day com­mutes.

The tick­ets orig­i­nated on route 98, which runs from Port Royal to down­town Kingston.

CMI is the only ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion that ben­e­fits from a spe­cial ar­range­ment with the JUTC, which al­lows its stu­dents, adults or teenagers, to pay the $30 con­ces­sion­ary fare through the SmarterCard sys­tem.

JUTC manager of spe­cial projects and cor­po­rate af­fairs, Ge­or­gia Red­way, told Gleaner Busi­ness the in­cor­rect charges might have re­sulted from a fail­ure in the syn­chro­ni­sa­tion of the ma­chines on board the buses at the end of the shift.

“The JUTC is aware of a few in­stances where a spe­cific bus was not prop­erly syn­chro­nised at the end of duty on a week­end day, re­sult­ing in the fol­low­ing school day be­ing read as a week­end and the fare charged ac­cord­ingly,” Red­way said.

Red­way later clar­i­fied that the JUTC does not view the is­sue as af­fect­ing a spe­cific or par­tic­u­lar bus, but that it per­tains to a sys­tem process that, if not com­pleted, re­sults in glitches.

“This oc­curs, for ex­am­ple, if a bus breaks down, and for some rea­son, the last trans­ac­tions are not down­loaded and the sys­tem con­nects to the net­work for proper syn­chro­nis­ing,” she said.

Over the last year, the JUTC has re­ceived “less than 10 re­ports” of fare mix-ups, she said, while urg­ing per­sons to re­port the in­ci­dents so they can be in­ves­ti­gated.

“We do not have a gen­eral is­sue,” Red­way re­it­er­ated.

Once the re­port is brought to the com­pany’s at­ten­tion and checks con­firm that a stu­dent or child was in fact charged the adult fare when the con­ces­sion fare was ap­pli­ca­ble, “the sum is cred­ited to the af­fected SmarterCard,” she said.

Gleaner Busi­ness has seen sev­eral tick­ets since Septem­ber pre­sented by stu­dents who were in­cor­rectly charged.

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