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JM | Oct 27, 2020

Cashless for COVID – JUTA on drive for better safety measures amid pandemic

/ Our Today

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JUTA buses at the Sangster International Airport in St James. (Photos: JUTA)

Ninety per cent of Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA) drivers will go cashless within the next 60 days as the company reforms its operations to increase customer satisfaction and efficiency. 

JUTA President Simon Lawrence said that, while it is impossible to predict the future of the company in the challenging circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is developing innovative measures to increase its safety precautions and maintain quality service.

One such innovative adjustment includes JUTA going cashless with more than 12,000 drivers.

“We at JUTA will continue to develop innovative measures to stay afloat during the pandemic. However, this is a global fight and we are doing the best we can to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols implemented by the Government of Jamaica and provide excellent quality service,” said Lawrence. 

In order to fast-track its technology deployment, JUTA has formed a partnership with Rydeum Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of OM Holdings International, Inc.

We find that over 85 per cent of the young people that travel from [Russia, the UK and US] hardly use physical currency and find it difficult to use it when they visit Jamaica.”

Jason Thomas, chief operating officer of Rydeum

Jason Thomas, chief operating officer of Rydeum, said the move was the most efficient way to meet the needs of JUTA’s tourist-centric market.

“Most first world countries such as Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States have been going cashless for years. We find that over 85 per cent of the young people that travel from these countries hardly use physical currency and find it difficult to use it when they visit Jamaica,” said Thomas. 

He said the move to cashless has been a long standing goal for JUTA, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, plans to implement the new system were now at the forefront of the company’s digital transformation. 

More than 12,000 JUTA drivers islandwide will be going cashless with beta testing scheduled to start in Montego Bay, St James within the next 60 days. 

Brian Thelwell, president of Jamaica Co-operative Automobile and Limousine Tours Ltd. (Photo: Facebook)

When asked for a comment on digital transformation within the transportation sector, Brian Thelwell, president of Jamaica Co-operative Automobile and Limousine Tours Ltd. (JCAL), had not provided a response at the time this article was published. 

“JUTA has done the research and realise that it now has to play catch up with the existing use of technology and be viable globally. Jamaica cannot be the country which operates backwards to that regards. We have to be sustainable with the market place that demands the use of technology and JUTA has decided that it wants to be the leader of this movement,” said Thomas.

By going cashless, JUTA is also seeking to improve its consumer experience by making its operations more efficient and convenient. Tourists from the United States would be able to choose a package from the JUTA app when planning to visit the island. Within this package, they can choose the tourist attractions that they would like to visit, and JUTA will be able to provide a cost, available dates as well as the JUTA driver. With this technology, consumers will now be able to read, rate and write reviews on attractions as well as the drivers.

JUTA will be using the same ride share technology currently employed by top transportation companies such as Uber and Lyft. 

“This is the future of transportation and all local transport companies are now moving in that direction for tourism. This technology will allow JUTA to customise its services for its clients as well as the market it is serving,” said Thomas.  

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