Kurupukari ferry commuters will only pay one-way fare
October 12, 2002
Commuters using the Kurupukari ferry will only have to pay a single fare and they will be issued with a token to cover their return trip unlike the previous arrangement when they paid at each crossing.
Under the new fare structure which came into force on Tuesday, trucks are being charged $25,000 for a round trip from the previous $18,000 per round trip or $9,000 single fare.
Clarifying the price increases, communications consultant in the Ministry of Public Works, Ajay Baksh said that with the new pricing mechanism vehicles will now pay once instead of each time they crossed the Essequibo River at Kurupukari.
According to Baksh the Rupununi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) was told that the hikes would cover the whole trip. This had been clearly communicated to them at a meeting between their representatives and Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Anthony Xavier, Baksh said.
On that occasion the chamber had, among other things, requested that the new fares be temporarily delayed until the start of work on the 160-mile stretch of trail road.
This request was acceded to by the minister who in subsequent discussions with Mekdeci Machinery and Construction Inc. (MMC), the company awarded the contract to improve and upkeep the carriageway, agreed that 20% of the work had to be completed prior to the introduction of the new fares.
Once this was complete the ministry had no hesitation in agreeing to the increase since the pre-conditions for its implementation had been met.
Stabroek News had on June 19 carried a release which spelt out the increases which were expected to be in force in August.
According to that release from Split Image, the new round trip toll increases are:
Tanker/double axle trucks : $35,000
Tractor & trailer (10+tons) : $35,000
Tanker/single rear axle, truck : $25,000
Tractor & trailer (below 10 tons) : $25,000
Big bus (over 15 seats) : $17,000
Canter truck (4,240 lbs and over) : $17,000
Canter truck (under 4,240 lbs) : $11,000
Mini Bus (15 seater) : $11,000
Mini Bus (9 seater) : $ 7,000
Land Cruisers/Pickups : $ 7,000
Car/Van : $ 7,000
Cycle/motorcycles/pedestrians : Nil
The RCCI had on Tuesday voiced its concern about the increases which it said were unreasonable and unfair and which would impact negatively on that remote community.
According to the chamber, the increases could have been lower and they recommended a charge of $15,000 for trucks and $6,000 for cruisers as a more reasonable figure.
A five-year agreement covering improvement and maintenance of the Mabura to Lethem road was brokered in May between the ministry of public works and MMC after the former had advertised for expressions of interest to operate the Kurupukari crossing earlier in the year.
This initiative, according to Baksh, was taken after concerns were expressed about the state of the roadway and members of the very chamber had suggested that a private contractor should undertake work on it.