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Bus operators get fare increase

Bus operators get fare increase

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As of yesterday, minibus passengers travelling short drops, of distances over one mile, are being required to pay $1.50 for the service.{{more}}

According to President of the Minibus Association Anthony Bacchus, this decision was made at a meeting between the Transport Board and the Mini Bus Association on Wednesday, July 13.

This increase will affect communters travelling between Kingstown and areas such as Campden Park, Questelles, Glen, Fair Hall, Belair, Villa, Calliaqua and Arnos Vale. However, any drop less than a mile will remain at $1.00, for the time being.

Bacchus told SEARCHLIGHT that the meeting was held to present to the Transport Board a new proposal for increase in bus fares due to the high cost of diesel.

“What we did was ask the Commissioner to sensitise the public and notify them that the fares would be implemented from yesterday (July 14),” Bacchus said.

Bacchus said van drivers have been operating on fares that were approved since April 6, 2005, and the $1.50 for short drops over one mile is part of that approved rate sheet.

A proposal for new fares for certain areas was presented to the Transport Board at Wednesday’s meeting, Bacchus said. He noted that a response will be given to the Association regarding their new proposals within seven days.

Bacchus disclosed that the Minibus Association is now proposing a fee of $3 from Kingstown to Prospect, $8 from Kingstown to Chateaubelair and from Kingstown to Georgetown, $7.

“The old proposal where it is $5 from Kingstown to Chateaubelair and $5 from town to Georgetown, due to the high cost of fuel, these areas need to be revised because it’s hard to travel from town to Chateau for $5,” he said.

The new proposal also recommends a fare of $2.00 for all short drops, whether over or under a mile.

“In the old fare that is existing now, from town to Lowmans is $1.00. In the new proposal we want $2.00 for short drops…If the new proposal is approved, that person will have to pay $2 from town to Sion Hill or Calliaqua,” he explained.

Bacchus remarked that the mentality of some travellers is that they feel because the $1.00 fare exists, they could travel from Kingstown to Calliaqua for $1.00, and it is causing confusion.

“What we are trying to do is establish a better transportation system here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and it would have to start where buses have to line up and implement pay-as-you enter,” Bacchus said.

However, Bacchus remains confident that minibus operators will support the fare increase and request the $1.50 from their passengers.

“We have approximately 1,000 members in the Association, and we are trying to revive the association that was dormant in the past,” Bacchus stated.

In the event that a bus driver accepts the $1.00 fare, Bacchus said those drivers will be fined or some kind of action will be taken against them.

“It will be their loss because at the end of the day, they will be putting $180.00 to 200.00 worth if fuel. I don’t see the common sense in continuing to accept $1.00 because at the end of the day you are losing,” he added.

Bacchus also said that Chief Engineer Brent Bailey, who is a member of the Transport Board, is currently working on a project to clean up Little Tokyo. Bacchus said once that project is completed, there will be more space for the minibuses to implement the line-up system and cut out the “rat race”.

Bacchus said Bailey did not indicate when the Little Tokyo “clean-up” project will be completed. (KW)

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