Thursday 12 December, 2019

WATCH: JUTC boss apologises for leaking bus seen in viral video

Some commuters were seen with umbrellas open as they attempted to stave off the rain while some seats were vacated as they were in the direct path of the downpour.

Some commuters were seen with umbrellas open as they attempted to stave off the rain while some seats were vacated as they were in the direct path of the downpour.

Managing Director of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), Paul Abrahams has apologised after a video went viral of passengers on one of the company’s articulated buses struggling to avoid the pouring rain that was gushing in through a large opening in the roof.

Loop News understands that the latest incident happened this week on a bus travelling along the Portmore toll road. In fact, Portmore has seen afternoon showers every day since the start of the week.

Some commuters were seen with umbrellas open as they attempted to stave off the rain while some seats were vacated as they were in the direct path of the downpour.

Yet others appeared quite oblivious to what was happening around them.

Click to watch the video that has been making the rounds on social media

“There can’t be any excuse for it; it (the bus) should not have been dispatched so we sincerely apologise,” Paul Abrahams said when contacted by Loop News on Wednesday.

“There is no excuse for it to have been on the road…it’s not something that we do, we do not dispatch units in that condition at all."

When asked if the maintenance department was responsible for the unit ending up on the road in that condition, Abrahams said no.

“That unit would not have escaped maintenance, it’s not a maintenance responsibility in the sense that operations would be the department that would dispatch the bus for the evening run,” Abrahams explained.

Loop file photo of JUTC Managing Director Paul Abrahams (centre) and former transport minister Mike Henry

“Yes, there’s no denying it, the video speaks for itself…we are not going to create an excuse for it, it’s just an unfortunate mishap that it got dispatched,” Abrahams said when asked whether the company was embarrassed by the incident.

But, this is not the first time that commuters travelling on buses belonging to the state-owned company have suffered the indignity of getting wet while going about their business.

Similar incidents of commuters sheltering under their umbrellas while aboard JUTC buses were reported in October 2017 and November 2018. Some commuters claim it is a regular occurrence.

File photo of JUTC buses

Despite the claim by Abrahams that the JUTC does not dispatch units in that condition, the person who sent the video to Loop News said she boarded the same unit several weeks ago and, apart from being concerned that she would get wet if it rained, quickly moved to the front of the unit as she also feared the bus could break apart.

She had that fear because the opening in the roof is in the area of the bus where the vestibule joins the front and back sections of the articulated unit.

Loop News understands that the bus was routinely dispatched because, while persons in authority at the company were aware of the damage, the unit was still in driving condition and is able to move a large number of commuters at one time.

“They were forced to keep it on the road because they have a lot of units not working or breaking down regularly,” said a source who chose not to be named.

“The company has not received any new buses in a while,” the source added.

Abrahams said the company rolls out between 385 and 400 units each morning and evening at peak hours. Commuters are not impressed.

“Even if they are short on buses they could at least cover the opening (in the articulated unit) with a piece of tarpaulin, that’s not expensive at all,” said the commuter who brought the situation to the attention of Loop News. The commuter also noted that the seats in the buses often appear dirty and in some units some seats remain unoccupied because the air conditioning units are leaking.

Meanwhile, Director of Communications at the JUTC, Cecil Thoms also apologised to the commuters for the inconvenience they suffered. “It never should have happened,” he said.

He told Loop News that the vestibule on the affected unit became defective overtime and is difficult to source. He said efforts will be made to repair the defective bus by scavenging parts from other units.

 

 

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