New fare structure for minibuses released …operators, passengers urged to comply

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The Business Ministry has released the new fare structure for several minibus zones, following the recent announcement of a $20 across the board increase which is expected to take effect from September 1.

In a release, the Ministry said “all minibus operators are required to by law to display the fare structure in their buses”.

Among the zones whose fare structures were released were 31 (Georgetown to Patentia); 32 (Georgetown to Parika); 40, 41, 45, 46 (Georgetown to Kitty/Campbellville, South-North Ruimveldt/Guyhoc, Main Street, Lamaha and Albert, Lodge); 44 (Georgetown to Mahaica); 47, 48 (Georgetown to Back Road, East and West Sophia); and 42 (Georgetown to Timehri).

For the zones which were not listed, the Ministry advised that they should contact the head of United Minibus Union, Eon Andrews.

The Ministry renewed its call for commuters and drivers, as well as conductors, to honour the new fare structure. Plans were first announced by the Business Ministry on August 20 for a $20 increase.

The President of the United Minibus Union (UMU), Eon Andrews, had said that he is satisfied with the Ministry’s decision to implement a $20 increase. He said, “It might not be a lot, but we are satisfied.”

In June, the President of the Minibus Union submitted a proposal for not only a fare increase, but for several other requests to ease the pressure on minibus drivers.

Although the call for a fare increase came at a time where fuel prices were constantly escalating, Andrews had noted that the call for the additional money was not only due to the fuel prices, but several other issues. Because of this, the Union’s President said even if the fuel prices lower, he would not be willing to drop the transportation costs.

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) has labelled the $20 across the board increase in minibus fares as a burden on the beleaguered working people. The Union’s statement came one week after the Government made the announcement of a fare hike.

According to FITUG, although it accepts that the operators have found themselves in a difficult position, taking into consideration the ban on used tyres and increases in the costs of licences and fitness in addition to other increases, the new increases, depending on the route, could work out to as much as a 25 per cent hike in fares.

The Union pointed out that it believes the new fare structure would now require workers and their families, depending on the number of buses they would have to take, to fork out as much as several thousands more per month on transportation, though promised the ‘Good Life’ by the ruling coalition Government.

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