In a media release today, the Opposition Spokesman said the investigation must be carried out to determine the real cause of the accident, which led to a bus with staff and family members veering off the road into a ditch, injuring twenty-two (22) JUTC employees and seven (7) family members.
Phillips pointed out that the “hurried” assessment by the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) does not constitute a proper investigation and is not enough to dispel his reports that the bus involved in the accident was defective. This investigation requires an engineering assessment by Volvo trained experts and the bus maintenance records must be produced.
The JUTC Management should not take any comfort in the examination done by the ITA, because it is not equipped to carry out the kind of investigation required to satisfy public interest.
“This is not the time to play games; the accident occurred at a time when there are increasing concerns regarding JUTC’s overall budget, the company’s ability to conduct proper maintenance and repairs on the fleet of buses, and the ever increasing cost for fuel to bring the buses on the road on a daily basis” Mr. Phillips said.
The PNP spokesman said he has raised the maintenance issue several times in Parliament, including during the budget exercise, his sectoral presentation and more recently during ‘Question Time’ when he quizzed the Minister on the matter of funding for spare parts and an adequately trained team of mechanics.
He noted that the demand for the bus service is about to increase with the re-opening of schools in a matter of weeks and there is no indication that company is conducting its regular summer maintenance programme to be ready for September. He reiterated that the commuting public has a right to know the cause of the accident and what measures will be taken to prevent another such mishap.
The PNP Shadow Minister said if the accident was a result of poor maintenance and the lack of adequate spare parts, the management must tell the country how they plan to rectify the situation and restore confidence in the capacity of the company to provide safe and reliable service to commuting public, he said.
At the end of the day, he said, the Managing Director, Mr. Paul Abrahams and management of the JUTC, will be held accountable for the rapid deterioration of the company’s capacity to provide safe and reliable transportation service to the more than 200,000 commuters of the KMTR who use the service on a daily basis.
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