East Coast minibus strike stalls
March 5, 2003
Day two of the strike organised by minibus operators on the East Coast fizzled out with most vehicles back to work.
Some operators have been demanding a $20 increase in bus fares, as a result of increased fuel prices. Yester-day morning a few of the operators plying the 44 route parked their vehicles in protest but soon after 10 am many of them began working again.
One woman told this newspaper that the majority of the drivers were working other persons’ vehicles and as such they could ill afford to strike for long periods. “Don’t worry with all a dem, is people minibus they working and they have to carry in the people money else de bus will be taken away from them and given to someone else.”
One driver argued that their minibuses were privately owned and as such they had all the right to enforce their own fare structure. Unlike Monday morning only a handful of persons were on the road waiting for transportation around 9 am. Schoolchildren yesterday afternoon said they had had no difficulty in getting to school.
“As soon as I came out on the road a minibus was parked at the Victoria bus park and I jumped into it” one boy told this newspaper. Many workers went out on the road earlier than usual fearing that the strike would have affected them but instead arrived in town early.
Stabroek News understands that the few minibuses still on strike are those with catchy slogans and big stereo sets. Commuters are advised to change their money before entering some of the minibuses as those conductors can hold back passengers’ change.