Dec 25, 2016 News
Although it has become a norm for minibus and hire car operators to hike their fares around the festive season, commuters continue to criticize and accuse them of being exploitive.
This was the case on Christmas Eve as persons flocked to Georgetown to do their last minute shopping.
However, persons hurrying to get out of the hustle and bustle were greeted with some “outrageous” prices by transporters.
There has been a hike in fare at almost every bus and car park around the capital city. Specifically, this fare hike was observed with cars not operating through a taxi service.
Persons using taxis for short drops complained of the fares being doubled.
In some instances taxi drivers charged $700 and $800 for short drops, when the regular prices is usually around $400 and $500.
“Driver how much to go to La Penitence market?” one woman asked a taxi driver outside the car park at Demico House, Stabroek, Georgetown.
The taxi driver responded, “$800.”
The woman said, “$800 to go right down there? Every year is the same thing with yall. You people over doing it.”
In a serious tone, the taxi driver asked the woman if she had observed the heavy traffic around and the time it took to make a drop.
Nevertheless, there was some negotiation between them, and the fare was reduced to $700 so the woman boarded the car to her destination.
It was observed that persons, who were carrying a lot of baggage preferred to travel by taxi to avoid the constant stops by minibuses.
Waveney Johnson, a shopper explained that she would rather travel in taxi than minibus because she would be dropped off in front of her home. “You see all them bag I have? I can’t catch a bus because I will have to walk through a street when I get drop off at the road head. When I catch the car I will get drop off right in front my home. Plus the taxi driver will help me carry in these bags.
But not every shopper is like Johnson. There were shoppers whose preferred mode of transportation was minibuses because it was cheaper. However, some of them were left shocked when minibus operators demanded $100 for all short-drops, which on any regular day would be $60 and $80.
Over at the route 42 bus park, the standard $100 fare remained for persons travelling direct to Diamond/Grove. Persons stopping short of these locations were also required to pay the same fare, which would normally be between $60 and $80.
“Passengers all shorts drops are $100. It don’t matter where you coming off even if it is right at Parliament Buildings,” one bus driver informed before he drove off from the route 42 bus park.
An official from Sunset Taxi service said that she was unaware of the company applying a raise in fares. Commuters using cars attached to the 007 taxi service will be required to pay an additional $100 on the regular price for long-distance drops, according to a representative.
When asked the reason for the increased fares, a taxi driver explained, “Is the heavy traffic and congestion around town during this time. It’s taking too long to make a drop off in this. But some taxi man taking advantage of people. I hear some of them charging $1000 for a short drop. I can’t do people that because when this holiday done I still got to get customers. I don’t want no customer remember me after the holidays as the taxi man who charged them expensive.”
The taxi driver related that fare prices will go back to normal after the holidays. “Remember persons will want to go partying and so on…So they will need a taxi to go home because bus does hardly run.”
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