The higher bus fares What the people say about
By Johann Earle
Stabroek News
June 14, 2004

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This week Stabroek News sought the public's reaction to the recent increases in minibus fares announced by the Ministry of Commerce on some routes.

Yonette Farose - Waitress: 'I travel everyday since I have to go to work and as a single parent sometimes it is hard. I can't afford to pay $60 from North Ruimveldt to Georgetown. I have five children and it is very hard to get them to school. But I am trying not to give up hope and be strong. I don't think that the increases are fair. I understand that things have gotten harder for minibus drivers and owners. I believe that $40 from where I live to the market is good enough. The government should try to do more to bring the cost of fuel down.'

Ernest Richmond - Concerned Citizen: 'The conductor for a Plaisance bus called for a fare of $80, but I had change so I gave him what I usually pay, which is $60. They are saying that the price for gas has gone up, but by how much? I am paying $60 for a long time and I think that that is reasonable.'

Germain Sullivan - Welder: 'I think that the increases are fair. I usually travel with Route 40 buses and sometimes I pay the new fare. But I don't think that the gas increases were that high. I have been following the whole thing on the world market. But if the buses are demanding more money then they should not carry overloads or play loud music. I believe that minibuses and taxis should pay their fair share of taxes and NIS if they are getting more money.'

Timothy Purnwasy - Driver: 'I don't think that the amount of the increase was fair. If the price for gasoline comes down the buses would not drop their fares. I have a bicycle so I don't have to travel with buses often. But my wife takes a bus to work every day and she complains about having to pay the new fares. The government could have done some more to help the situation. Government should give the public sector more money. The fuel prices will have an effect on the price of food and many other items.'

Gordon Henry - Caterer: 'The new fares are ridiculous since I don't think that they are balanced in terms of the level of the gas increase. This would mean more pressure on parents and schoolchildren. If the increases in fares were balanced I don't think that it would have been too hard on people. I would travel with the Route 40 buses and if you give them $100 they would give you back $40.'

Veronica Giddings - Hotel Worker: 'The new fares that the minibuses want are very unreasonable. I have to travel from East Ruimveldt mornings and afternoon. First the buses used to ask for higher fares but not now. With the pay that people get they can't afford the higher fares. The government should try to bring the cost of some of the utilities down so that people could afford to pay the cost of the higher transportation.'

Donna Rickford - Sales Representative: 'The fares are unreasonable. I travel everyday and I have to pay $60 from Kitty to the market. That fare should have been $50 for adults and $25 for children.'

Robby Maiko - Lab Technician: 'On certain routes the increases are reasonable, but the thing is that everybody has forgotten about the Essequibo Coast. The Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce should go to the Essequibo Coast and look at the fares. The high fares there have come about because of the bad roads during the period when the roads were being done. What I suggest to cope with the inadequacies of private minibuses is a public transport system. The government should bring in some big buses and put them in the hands of private companies for a rental fee on a fixed fare basis. With such a system people can't arbitrarily raise fares. There also should be a comprehensive transport study for the country to decide on the best options.'

Sherry Haynes - Student Teacher: 'There is not much the travelling public can do with the new fares but pay them. Some of the minibuses offer a good service, but all of them are not the same.'

Yonette Paddy - Private Sector Employee: "I think that some of the increases are fair. One of the things the drivers and owners have to worry about is wear and tear. From time to time the prices for spare parts go up. The bus owners have a life too. But if they get their increases they can't continue to overload the buses. In terms of how it would affect single parents, I think it would be hard for them, also pensioners and schoolchildren.