WITH some operators of speedboats, minibuses and taxis opting to increase their fares, forcing commuters to pay more money on established fares, Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill, stated that government has not, at this point, authorised any fare increases.
Speaking during a media conference at the ministry’s Wight’s Lane office, Minister Edghill said: “we have made it very clear we are not authorising any increase of fares.”
He added that the government has implemented measures to reduce the impact of the rising cost of living on households, which stems from a number of global factors.
“If the government is subsidising the consumer and the operator, how could the operator go to the consumer and say ‘pay me more’?
“So, whether its minibuses, taxis, [or] speedboats, we have said ‘no’” the Minister said.
“You can only get more if the people want to pay more and we have advised the people that [they] have no right to pay more; not at this time. It is not the opportune time.
“We have to be sensitive, we have to be our brother’s keeper,” the Minister said, admonishing those transportation operators who have already engaged in the practice.
Mr. Edghill stressed that the increase in the cost of living is a global issue. He urged citizens to look out for each other during this time.
Turning his attention to speedboat operators, Minister Edghill explained that speedboat owners are beneficiaries of a number of government concessions, which include the removal of excise tax from fuel which resulted in direct benefits to the boat owners.
“What is happening in our world is not just a Guyana problem or speedboat problem or a minibus problem, it’s a global problem and we have to be our brother’s keeper. We have to be sensitive, and we have to be responsive in these matters,” Minister Edghill maintained.
There have been reports that some speedboat operators plying the Vreed-en-Hoop to Georgetown route have opted to increase their fares from $100 to $120. Some minibus operators, notably for Route 40 minibuses, have also attached a $20 additional charge.
Additionally, some taxi drivers have added $100 to their fare. These unauthorised increases have all caught the attention of the authorities, who have since advised citizens against paying increases in these prevailing circumstances.