COVID-19 hits JUTC revenue

The novel coronavirus pandemic has seriously eaten into the finances of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), especially with the requirement to carry only seated passengers.

In addition, charters to funerals, beach trips and other activities have been reduced dramatically with the measures implemented to decrease community spread of the virus in March and the continuing restrictions on large gatherings.

According to information supplied by the State-run bus company through the Access to Information Act, total income from charters in 2019 was $261,291,383.

“Comparatively, for the four-month period since the index COVID-19 case in Jamaica, the JUTC recorded a 31 per cent drop in charter revenue. Month over month, April saw the biggest drop of 90 per cent, while for May there was a 105 per cent increase,” the JUTC said.

“The other months of relevance saw a 61 per cent drop in March and an 80 per cent drop in June. This is in the back of a significant reduction in the number of charters that were booked during the current period under review,” added the bus company.

Unaudited financial information for the fiscal year 2018-19 showed that the JUTC had income of just under $4.5 billion and received some $6.8 billion in government support.

However, expenditure of approximately $12 billion left the JUTC with a deficit of $836 million.

The company said $8 billion in subvention will be sought from the Government this year.

Despite this measure, the JUTC still expects its earnings to significantly decline this year with the mandate to carry only seated passengers because of the novel coronavirus and the need to prevent spread of the virus.

–Pete Sankey