Minibus operators to ‘face the music’ for exorbitant fares, rogue behavior

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[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and the United Minibus Union (UMU) met on Saturday (January 18) in the Ministry’s boardroom to discuss the Minibus situation countrywide.

Discussions were ventilated extensively using the Zones 32 (Georgetown to Parika) and the Zone 31 (Georgetown to Patentia) as pilot focus areas.

An interim fare structure proposed by the union was initially tabled, and will be presented in greater detail within the next two weeks.

Specific note has been made of the exorbitant fares now being demanded by drivers and conductors of route 31 and 32 operators. The parties agreed this must cease forthwith.

Further, it was agreed that:

–           Minibus transport is essentially a small man’s mode of transportation and every effort must be explored to avoid any imposition of hardship on the commuting public

–          All short drops in the zone 32 to be immediately reduced to $80.00 from $100.00; and Georgetown to Parika to $400.00, from the current $500.00 currently demanded from passengers

–          UMU will be meeting with the zone 31 minibuses on Monday January 20th 2014 to discuss their grievances and explore solutions favorable to all stakeholders.

–          Fares must be displayed in all minibuses, and passengers will pay only what is posted and signed by the Union, in conjunction with the Ministry. Law enforcement agencies will be asked to assist.

–          MinTIC will continue engaging the United Minibus Union with the hope of developing a cordial and mutually beneficial relationship, thereby creating a platform for positive and objective interactions. NMU will also intensify their high level engagement with the Ministries of Home Affairs, and Works and Transport.

Both parties are working to evaluate the case advanced by UMU for reviewing and establishing acceptable structured fares applicable to all minibus zones in Guyana; as well as a plan to improve the service to the consumers. This include: a dress code, (UMU’s contribution in making this a reality in the University of Guyana sub-zone was commended); eliminating touting, hot plating and overcrowding; respect for the elderly and minimizing other uncaring practices.

The meeting noted with grave concern, a report which suggests that many minibuses engaged in rogue behavior, to which traffic policemen seem reluctant or incapable of moving against, are owned by law enforcement officials, and also persons attached to other state-owned agencies.

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