JUTC says fare mix-up not widespread
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.