By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Given the response from the residents of Berbice to the use of the river taxis, the government has opted to extend the service, which was initially slated to last for only one month.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told a post cabinet media briefing on September 23, 2015 that residents on the East and West Bank of the Berbice River are happy with the arrangement in place and that the boats make at least 16 trips per day.
“This was meant to be a one month exercise in the first instance, but I believe that based on this kind of response that we’re getting that this might very well go beyond that,” the Minister of State said.
School children, nurses and pensioners will be able to travel free for one month via the river taxis.
The APNU+AFC government decided to implement the river taxis as a direct response to the refusal of officials from the Berbice Bridge Company to reduce the tolls of the Berbice River Bridge.
Government had announced a reduced toll structure which was slated to take effect on September 01, but the officials from the Company refused to implement it on the grounds that millions of dollars will be lost to investors and government did not consult with them.
The administration is providing a monthly subsidy to the Company to compensate for the loss, but this too was refused, resulting in a stalemate between the two sides.
While passenger vehicles would enjoy a fixed reduction with the fares expected to drop from $2200 to $1900, other vehicles would have been granted a 10% reduction from September 01. 2015.