– cite price of parts, rising cost of living
Despite indications from the General Minibus Association (GMBA) and the Guyana Public Transportation Association (GPTA) that they are committed to reducing the minibus fares as a result of the reduction in gasoline prices at the Guyana Oil Company (Guyoil), numerous minibus operators, taxi drivers and speedboat operators are saying that a decrease in the present fares is unlikely.
One of the primary reasons cited by almost all of the operators for the unlikelihood of a drop in fare was the fact that they did not know if the price of gasoline would stay below $1000 per gallon.
The last fare increase introduced by public transportation operators was advocated at the time when gasoline prices reached, and in some cases, exceeded $1,000 per gallon.
Fuel price on the world market had increased to as much as US$147, but has plummeted to a 17-month low of $61.
They said that if the price was lowered now, and then hiked in the near future, the fare would need to be raised once again.
This, they said, would cause a great deal of confusion among the travelling public.
“If de Government can give we (operators) some kind of security that de price gun stay low, then we might consider giving dem a drop in de fare,” explained one of the Route 40 operators.
He added that in his opinion, if the price of gasoline should stay below $1000 per gallon for a few months, then a fare decrease should be put in order.
Many of the operators noted that only one entity (Guyoil) was selling gasoline at $777 per gallon, and that not all of them utilise the services of those service stations.
“Is not all of we does buy we gas from there, is like dem tryin now fuh tell we where we must buy the gas from,” said a Route 45 minibus conductor.
One of the other primary reasons the GMBA and the GPTA had justified the increase in fare, earlier this year, was the skyrocketing prices for spare parts.
Minibus operators noted that the prices of these essential spare parts have not gone down. If anything, they said, the prices were on the increase.
Another reason fares could not be lowered, according to the minibus and taxi operators, is because the cost of living has not decreased.
“If de price ah gas gone down, den de price fuh rice and sugar and everything else should drop too, as it does tek gas fuh mek all a dem things,” said a speedboat operator.
The speedboat operators that spoke with Kaieteur News said that they did not expect the speedboat fare for the Georgetown/Vreed-en-Hoop crossing to drop. Similar to the minibus operators, they voiced concerns about the high cost of living and the expensive cost of maintaining their vessels.
A member of the Demerara River Speedboat Association said that in the eyes of the association, there was no guarantee that the fare would decrease. Before this could be considered, Kaieteur News was told, a meeting and a discussion would have to be had with the speedboat operators, owners and members of the Association.
The speedboat operators noted that the gas station nearest to the Vreed-en-Hoop Stelling, which most of the operators used due to its proximity, has not been selling gasoline at the new reduced price.
“We aren’t buyin’ at a lower price, so how we gun charge people less money?” asked one of the bowmen.
One of the owners of one of the leading taxi companies in Georgetown noted while it was good that the price of gasoline was falling, it was not likely that taxi fares would drop significantly. He added that it was also too soon to tell if the fares would decrease.
However, members of the travelling public in Stabroek Market yesterday said that they thought that fares should be lowered due to the reductions in gasoline.
They said that the increased transportation costs were severely denting their budgets and pockets.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh had announced that the prices of fuel being sold by the Government-owned gas station would be reduced in light of falling oil prices on the world market.
The Minister said that gasoline prices would slashed by 20.7 percent.
Minister Singh explained that the government’s decision to implement the reductions stemmed from the considerable decline observed in oil prices on the world market in recent days.
He also indicated that in accordance with the stabilising mechanism that has been utilised by Government in relation to fuel prices and taxes, the excise tax on gasoline would be adjusted to 50 percent.
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