Showing posts with label Bus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bus. Show all posts

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Should A Rapid Transit System Be Implemented In The Kingston Metropolitan Area?

My first visit to Kingston, Jamaica's Capital and largest town/city was back in 2003. I was markedly surprised by the difference in day to day living, especially coming from the relatively quiet commercial town of Mandeville, Manchester.

Kingston is largely dissimilar to Mandeville and other towns in Jamaica; with numerous high rise structures and major factories. Plus, life is rather fast; individuals are constantly moving in the ever bustling city of Kingston.

View of new Kingston. Source of image: Romance Journeys.

The 2011 population and housing census, undertaken by the statistical institute of Jamaica (STATIN), revealed that Kingston had a population of 584 627. Additionally, the Kingston metropolitan area (KMA) had 1 041 084 individuals, in excess of a third of Jamaica's population.

The KMA is served by public taxis and buses. However, the primary source of transportation is the Jamaica urban transit company (JUTC), a state owned and operated bus company. The company commenced operations in 1998, with the aim of creating a modern transportation system in the KMA.

JUTC fleet of buses. Source of image: JIS

The total daily ridership to the enity is not certain. However, a Jamaica information service (JIS) news piece entitled  JUTC Sets March 2014 deadline For All Passengers To Access Smarter Cards, suggests that the JUTC moved 110 000 concession passengers daily. Indicating that total daily ridership should exceed the aforementioned figure.

Rapid Transit

Miriam Webster defines rapid transit as "the system that is used in cities for quickly bringing people to and from places on trains, buses, etc."

However, the quasi-bus rapid transit system operated by the JUTC is not a true rapid transit system. In other words, dedicated bus lanes are lacking in the KMA; The buses have to contend with daily traffic. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly difficult to expand the roadways in the KMA.

This is compounded by several vehicles on our roads. Estimates are sketchy, however, approximately 500 000 vehicles were said to be on our roads in 2008. Plus, rough estimates evince that approximately 10 000 cars are sold annually.

Moreover, unless import restrictions are implemented, car ownership should increase with an increase in income. A breakdown of registered cars by parish is not available to the public. However, if we are to judge by traffic on Mandela highway and the Portmore toll, then roads in the KMA are overburdened by traffic.

A possible solution to the KMA's congestion problem, can be found by instituting a metro-rail, thereby bypassing traffic laden routes. Such a system should augment the quasi-bus rapid transit system; and regain productivity, lost in traffic. The state may have difficulty implementing a metro-rail, however, it is something to think about.

Thanks for stopping by!


Population and housing census, STATIN.

About JUTC/History, JUTC

Motor insurance tracking system coming, 30 % of vehicles uninsured - IAJ survey, Jamaica Gleaner