JATRAN riders unhappy with service - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

JATRAN riders unhappy with service

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

At Jackson's Union Station, JATRAN buses stop and dozens of people are bustling about, getting on and off buses. But many say they're not happy with the service.

"Every time we ride the #12 or #1, the bus is never on time," said JATRAN rider Freda German. "We're always late for our interview and jobs and stuff and were sick and tired of this. It doesn't make sense for the buses not to run on schedule."

"From north Jackson to south Jackson, it's just bad," said Earl Johnson. "There's no air conditioning on some of the buses, people are complaining the buses are not on time, we pay our money and we don't get our services."

Riders have complained to city leaders and now Jackson City Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes says the bus service is so bad that he plans to ask Mayor Tony Yarber to terminate the contract with National Express Transit, JATRAN's management company, and start fresh.

"We need to make sure that we have dependable service," Stokes said. "We need to make sure the citizens of this city trust this service and the only way we can do that is to put people who are qualified, who know what to do, and will run this bus service in a dependable manner."

Stokes said he is also upset JATRAN shut down over half a dozen routes in recent months.

We did our own test to see if the buses were running on time. We waited on High Street Tuesday for the 4B bus for over an hour, but nothing ever came.

From broken air conditioners, to broken down buses, JATRAN riders say they've seen it all, and now want to see an improvement.

Below is a statement from National Express Transit:

National Express Transit operates and maintains the JATRAN buses. The key challenge in meeting the published service schedule is the availability of safe buses. Prior to National Express taking over the service, all buses were inspected by a third party vehicle maintenance company. The results were provided to National Express the day before service started. The report showed that 39 of the 40 vehicles failed the inspection. Further analysis of the fleet through oil samples told us the fleet was not maintained for years prior to us taking over, and major component failure could happen in the future.

Given the prior lack of proper maintenance, we inherited a fleet from the City of Jackson that needed significant work to meet both industry standards and the standards by which we will operate buses for the safety of our riders, our employees and the public with which we share roadways. To assist in bringing the buses up to our stringent standards, we have brought in qualified mechanics from our other locations to help address needed repairs.

Currently there are 16 vehicles, of the 40 total, that are not in service due to bad engines, transmissions or turbos. From October 1, 2015, we have provided solutions and options to the City to bring the available resources to the levels necessary to provide service as published in the route schedules. We are waiting the City to set direction for us.

We will not compromise on safe service and are taking the service issues in Jackson very seriously. We are working with the City staff on mitigation options including leased buses and even providing school buses from our school bus operation as a temporary solution until the down buses can be repaired. As soon as we receive approval from the City to move forward, we will address the down buses as quickly as possible. We are anxious to be able to provide Jackson the high quality service for which we are known around the globe.

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