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Expo Jamaica: JUTC.

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    Expo Jamaica was an impressive spectacle.

    The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) offered its own impressive showing with a booth

    to pitch its “Smarter Card”.

    The Smarter Card is a cashless payment system for public buses, much like the Metro Card

    used in the US subway systems. The standard sized plastic card is embedded with an NFC

    chip which keeps the cardholders basic data and payment history. The card is “topped up” at

    designated areas, including the “pop up top up” station at Expo Jamaica. The topped up card is

    then tapped on the validator located in the bus to effect payment for the bus fare. Simple.

    Elegant. Yet not fully adopted.

    At the Expo and elsewhere, the public has free access to the JUTC Smarter Card; that means

    that all money “credited” the card immediately reflects on the account, in full. As an additional

    incentive, Smarter Card users get Magna Rewards benefits when they tap. Yet, still, not fully


    Though the JUTC has attempted a cashless transit system many times, commuters are not

    warming to the idea as quickly as they would like. The benefits of the system, like similar

    systems used all over the world, are too numerous to list here. The limitations of the system,

    however, are not.

    I can’t wait to see the system expand to offer convenient online and ATM top up like Highway

    2000 East West Tags or mobile provider credit. The top up locations, though growing, are still

    limited resulting in long lines at some locations. Bulk top facilitating

    employers to deploy

    benefits and transport allowances directly to card holders is

    another feature that could boost


    The Smarter Card is a great initiative; let’s hope it lives up to its potential sooner rather than