In keeping with its promise, the Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s Department of Transport and Harbours (T&HD), today commissioned two water taxis in East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six).
The boats valued at some $20M were commissioned by Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, at the New Amsterdam Stelling.
In her address, Minister Ferguson said, while in opposition, the now Coalition Government had moved a motion to reduce the tolls at the Berbice Bridge to ease the financial constraints on residents and other stakeholders.
According to the Minister, after assuming office in May 2015,
“We engaged stakeholders…. the Board of the Berbice Bridge, we engaged the management of Transport and Harbours Department and said this will be the new direction, the new fares amongst other things.”
Minister Ferguson restated the Ministry’s plan to develop transport services regionally.
Chairman of the T&HD, Basil Blackman said the government, recognising the situation facing commuters, implemented the plan to provide the water taxis.
The Chairman said the launching of the two water taxis fulfills the government’s commitment to residents of New Amsterdam and Rosignol.
It was highlighted that approximately 600 commuters cross the river daily during peak periods with 35 percent being school children.
Regional Executive Officer of Region Six, Kim Williams-Stephen, commended the government for their efforts and expressed her satisfaction with the venture.
She said the implementation of the water taxis will enhance the education capacity of the region as it aims to make transportation for students more accessible.
The water taxis, Blessed One and Blessed Two have met the standards of the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and are equipped with the necessary safety gear.
The boats are expected to go into operation tomorrow and will complete ten trips per day with the elderly and school children being transported free of cost. All other commuters are to pay a fee of $120.
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