Poor workmanship putting JUTC commuters at risk
IN PHOTO: A JUTC employee takes pictures of the engine of a JUTC bus which caught fire on Arthur Wint Drive, St Andrew in 2014.
Paul Abrahams, the managing director of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), says substandard workmanship may have caused two of the three fires on its buses this month. The JUTC was forced to put in place a fire prevention team, after three major fire incidents over a seven-day period in May.
"It appears there are efforts to undermine the operations of the bus company; both internal and external," Abrahams said in a statement.
The managing director said that preventative fire checks over the past two weekends returned startling results.
"We have found instances of serious breaches, including but not limited to; fuel line being too loose beside a turbo, and a rag that was used to tie a hydraulic line among other displaced connections in the engine. These breaches can cause spontaneous combustion when the vehicle is in operation mode, and may have prompted at least two of the three fires. We are taking a zero-tolerance approach to the recent fires, and have warned personnel that there should be no recurrence,” Abrahams said.
The first incident involved a bus that was travelling in Bull Bay, St Andrew, when it caught fire. The bus was destroyed.
The second incident involved a No. 83 bus that was on its way from downtown Kingston to the transport centre in Half-Way-Tree when a passenger saw smoke and alerted the driver. And the third incident occurred along Hope Road in St Andrew. Both buses were damaged.
There were no reported injuries from the fires.
Abrahams said that a fire prevention checklist has been developed, and the staff has been given refresher fire prevention training, in addition to the regular maintenance programme in effect. He also said that administrative sanctions will be taken against those found to be responsible for poor workmanship.