Minibus fares remain high
-despite decline in gas price

Stabroek News
June 15, 2003

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Despite the recent decline in gasoline prices countrywide, minibus operators working around Georgetown are continuing to apply the increased fare rates.

Fares for travel in and around the city, which were previously $30 for Routes 40, 41 and 45 minibuses were hiked to $40 when gasoline prices soared ahead of the war in Iraq and at the time of the strike in Venezuela.

Some operators on the University of Guyana route also increased their fares from $40 to $60 per trip.

Most operators justified the hikes at the time by citing the rise in gasoline prices and said fares would be reduced to correspond with the decline in fuel prices.

According to figures provided by the Guyana Petrol Station Dealers’ Association (GPSDA), prices peaked at $462 per gallon or $101.60 per litre in March, while on May 7 prices dropped to $425 per gallon or $93.60 per litre.

But there has been no corresponding reduction in fares. Both Eileen Cox of the Consumers Advisory Bureau and Patrick Dial of the Guyana Consumers Association (GCA) have told Stabroek News that given the argument in support of the increase, fares should now be lowered accordingly. Head of the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce’s Consumer Affairs Division, Clifford Zammett, also told Stabroek News that the Ministry continued to receive calls from commuters who were complaining about the increases. Zammett said that while some operators had reverted to the old fares, they were faced with pressure from those who continued to enforce the hikes.

Some commuters lamented about paying increased fares for trips within the city, while paying cheaper fares to destinations outside of town. They said a trip from Georgetown to Vreed-En-Hoop cost $60, for a distance which was more than double the trip from the city to UG, also $60.

But President of the Guyana Public Transportation Association, (GPTA) Compton Giddings says that even at $425 per gallon the gasoline prices were still too high to justify any reduction.

Giddings, who had been one of the stakeholders who met with the ministry to negotiate an increase, pointed out that the fares had remained the same since the last increase over four years ago. He said that in the interim other costs had risen including maintenance expenses.

He hoped fares could fall once gasoline prices reverted to the 1999 levels.

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