New minibus fares based on increases due since 1999
-permanent secretary
Stabroek News
June 10, 2004

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The recently-sanctioned minibus fares structure had nothing to do with the fluctuation in the current world price for fuel but was based on increases due since 1999, according to Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Permanent Secretary, Joseph Singh.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) release, Singh said that after consultations with stakeholders - minibus associations, owners/operators and representatives from the travelling public - it was agreed that the fares be adjusted.

The permanent secretary said a historical analysis on fare increases was done as well as other surveys to determine the level of increases.

The release noted also that the ministry has been running advertisements in the newspapers informing the public about the new increases, which range from 20 to about 50 percent but in some areas the fare has not been changed.

The ministry is also urging that primary and secondary school children, pregnant women and senior citizens be granted discretionary concessions for fare payment.

Meanwhile, checks with operators at the minibus parks identified in the advertisements reveal that some of the fares applicable to Route 40, 41, and 45 were already in existence before being sanctioned by the ministry. However, the fares for Routes 31, 32 and 42 were increased by $20 and $40 for the more distant areas. But Route 32 operators say the fares from Georgetown to De Kinderen should be $160, Georgetown to Vergenoegen $180 and Georgetown to Ruby $200, while fares from Vreed-en-Hoop to Vergenoegen should be $120. Such fares would be about $20 more than suggested in the new structure.

Operators on Route 42 have said that the fares from Georgetown to Eccles, Peter's Hall and Bagotstown should be shown on the fare structure as an increase to $60 since commuters refuse to pay the additional $10 for the Eccles fare and the extra $20 for Peter's Hall and Bagotstown.

East Coast operators said that the fare structure is causing them more stress since in some areas such as Ann's Grove where they want $120, commuters only want to pay $100. And operators going to Mahaica Market who charge $140 are not pleased with the fare being listed as $120.

All the operators have said that some people are still reluctant to pay the fares as sanctioned by the ministry.