JUTC offers $100,000 reward to catch stone throwers
The cash-strapped state-owned bus company Jamaica Urban Transport Company (JUTC) has announced a partnership with Crime Stop to offer reward to anyone who can assist in the prosecution of those responsible for stoning their buses.
JUTC is offering $100,000 to assist in bringing the vandals to justice.
The announcement came yesterday through the company's managing director, Paul Abrahams, at a media briefing at the company's corporate offices in St Catherine.
According to the JUTC, this latest effort is aimed at reducing vandals taking aim at buses.
Last year, the public transportation company spent $1.4 billion to repair and maintain its fleet.
That is expected to increase to more than $2 billion this year based on its estimates of revenue and expenditure tabled in Parliament at the start of the financial year.
THE STAR gathered that the JUTC buses, which traverse Greater Portmore, Christian Pen, Angels Estate, McCook's Pen, and Central Village in Catherine are also frequently targeted.
August Town and sections of Washington Boulevard in St Andrew are also problem areas for the company.
74 incidents in 2016
In a previous interview with our news team, corporate communications manager at the JUTC, Cecil Thoms, said: "A review for the 12-month period - January 1 to December 31, 2016 - indicates that there was a total of 74 cases of stone throwing related to the buses."
THE STAR understands that since the start of this year, there have been close to 40 cases of stone throwing.
JUTC disclosed that catching the stone throwers has been an issue for the bus company because it is usually done at nights and the perpetrators usually flee.
Damaged windows cost the JUTC more than $850,000, depending on the damage, and usually affects the fleet, leading to significant revenue loss.
In many cases, the parts needed to replace the damaged buses are not available on the island and have to be ordered from overseas.
Along with the rewards being offered, the JUTC will increase its public education campaigns in schools, as well as engage members of parliament in the areas where the stone throwing incidents have been highest.
Additionally, the JUTC says it will be hiring persons to become mystery riders on the buses to aid in reducing the stone throwing incidents.