JA bus routes may be cut back

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company may be forced to cut back on existing bus routes following the latest increase in bus fares.

JUTC Planning Manager Kirk Finnikin told The Gleaner last Friday that this was because the increase in fares was likely to see a fall in passengers, making some routes less profitable, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

Fare increases of $10 in both 2001 and 2003, said Mr. Finnikin, saw passengers fall between five and 10 per cent. The JUTC had already begun a process of assessing the profitability of routes prior to the current increase.

“It is difficult to determine what the effect will be what we are looking at with this particular increase is a reduction in ridership, more than what we have experienced before because the rise is greater. And so we may need to reduce frequencies where routes are no longer economically viable,” Finnikin said.

Fares for travelling inside Kingston and St. Andrew (Zone One) will rise from $30 to $50 and outside that area (Zone Two) will rise from $40 to $50.

The frequency of buses operating the Route 98 service had already been reduced after 7pm.

Mr. Finnikin said this was because the number of passengers “decreased significantly” after that time.

Route 98 goes from Port Royal to downtown Kingston via the Norman Manley International Airport and Windward Road.

Assessment of routes said Mr. Finnikin would continue with Portmore, beginning in September. “We will monitor September traffic and when we have produced a timetable we will inform the public accordingly.”

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