Over at Common Sense Jamaica, Jay has two posts up on fixing our government bus company, the Jamaican Urban Transit Company. However, looking at the suggestions from his first post reveals two problems. Here is a list of his suggestions from that post.
I would do the following :
- Employ a group of high school students and University to go to the Gemba.
- Have the Phillip Paulwell provide them with tablets to be used for data collection.
- These folks will be stationed at the various depot’s in Kingston and Spanishtown used by the JUTC. They would also be placed at major transport center ie HWT, Downtown, Constant Spring etc as well as selected bus stops along every route serviced by the JUTC.
- Some would be placed on buses along every route travel by JUTC solely for data collection.
Data to be collected
- Average number of paying passenger per bus on all routes.
- Category of paying passing ie students, elderly or regular.
- Average number of persons embarking and disembarking along the various routes.
- Average number of passengers during peak periods
- Category of paying passengers during peak periods
- Average number of passenger during off peak hrs.
- Category of paying passengers during off peak hrs
- Average wait time per bus stop.
- Average wait period at major bus centers (idle time)
- Run time of engine during ideal periods at bus stop.
- Average number of buses on various routes during peak periods
- Average number of buses on various routes during off peak periods.
- Average number of passenger who complete the entire journey ie from terminus to terminus.
- Average length of ride per passenger ie what distance does the average passenger travels.
Given what I have already seen JUTC can look at the following
- Get fleet of smaller buses like the Toyota Coasters or even Toyota Hiace
- Run large buses during peak periods and where passenger loads are such that the bus will run at no less than 85% capacity.
- Run smaller buses on low volume routes and during peak periods on routes where it’s not economically viable to run the larger buses.
- Stop running on some routes where the load factors are so low that you can never break even or make a profit.
- Divest these routes to smaller operates who in turn pay JUTC a fee to run on these routes.
Aside from teh fact that having students with multi-thousand dollar tablets walking around in standing room only buses is probably not a good idea, the same data can be collected using pressure sensors, made from 50USD worth of parts bought from DigiKey. Just create about 6 graduations between “empty” and “full”, and you’re good to go.
This brings us to the second problem, which has to do with the second list. the one with the data to be collected by the students. Doesn’t the government already have this information? And even if they don’t have this information, couldn’t they just hire a consultant, or engineering firm with the requisite skills in queueing theory, traffic engineering, public transit administration and city planning? That’s the rub. They could fix the problems if they wanted to, but they do not. Instead they just the same old idiots so that they can eat a food.
It seems that that the JUTC is just a dumping ground for party idiots. Peter Phillips fucked it up first back in the day with these big old buses bought for a high density/low volume transit system,when most of the day people come out often, and in small numbers – low density/high volume. Then you have Mike motherfucking Henry, who needs to rapatriate his ass back to Scotland or wherever the fuck he comes from. And now we have Omar Davies, whose 90s record speaks for itself. Its not hard to see why they can’t make a proper bus system – they’re too damn busy driving their air conditioned SUVs to understand their electorate.
The problem with Jay’s post, is that he has proposed a technical solution to a political problem. Everyone who has to endure the JUTC bus system including the rank and file who use its services , know what is wrong with it. Their solutions are along the same line as Jay’s. What is needed is not so much a solution but a complete overhaul – Transport Ministers included. Not bus fare hikes that occur at more than
three times the rate of increase of the Consumer Price Index (Cost of Living.) over the last ten years.