230 VDL Mistrals for Jamaica

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The 230 VDL Mistrals, from 10.6 to 18m, will arrive over the next four years
The 230 VDL Mistrals, from 10.6 to 18m, will arrive over the next four years

JAMAICA JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) has placed an order with VDL Bus & Coach for 230 buses. Their delivery will be spread over four years, beginning with a batch of 65 buses in April 2012. This new order brings the total number of new VDL buses for Jamaica to 851.

The order is for Mistrals with lengths from 10.6 to 18 metres. They will be equipped with air conditioning systems suited for tropical conditions. This has drawn significantly greater numbers of passengers to JUTC. The contract also includes agreements concerning the delivery of parts, technical assistance and management support between JUTC and VDL Bus & Coach.

The 10.6m Mistrals will be used as special school buses for the more remote areas outside cities such as Montego Bay and Mandeville. These cities have populations of 120,000 and 75,000 respectively. These services will employ 60 buses.

The city of Montego Bay neighbours the country’s largest airport which mainly serves the tourists who visit Jamaica. The plan is for the standard buses to establish a link to the capital city, Kingston. A railway was established between Montego Bay and Kingston in 1894, but passenger transport on this line was ended in October 1992 because the railway was in such poor condition. Mandeville is the only major population centre in Jamaica not located on the sea or in a coastal plain.

JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) was established by the government in 1998. Previously the market was mainly served by minibuses and operated by the private sector. With the coming of JUTC, which now has four bus depots, public transport is claimed to have become considerably more efficient.