Before the fare hike came, University of Guyana medical student Anita Jones spent roughly $1,000 a day to travel from the East Bank of Demerara to Turkeyen, and back home.
But then classes resumed last month and fares were increased by $20. Anita, who comes from a large household, now spends $200.00 and sometimes more every day, since her curriculum also includes stints at hospitals.
Anita is just from one household that is feeling the pinch from that ‘small,’ mandatory fare hike, which came into effect on September 1.
The greater effect of this implementation is being felt by larger families, some of whom depend on public transportation to take their children to and from school.
Opinions gathered from travelers who spoke to Kaieteur News indicates that persons who are single and without children may not feel the full impact of what some consider as a minor fare increase.
Those who don’t have empathised with the minibus drivers. The argument that drivers are making is that the cost of gas has increased, and to survive- as they all have families, and personal expenses- an increase in the commuter’s fair is essential.
However, for others, it is becoming increasingly harder for parents or grandparents who finance school-aged children to accommodate this change in their allocation of allowances of each child.
This frustration has often led to verbal altercations and confrontations between commuters and conductors.
Petal France, a Public Safety Officer at the GPHC, when asked about her reaction to this implementation, conveyed the constant strain that it usually places on her budget as she is responsible for financing her two school aged grandchildren as well as herself.
“I am not pleased; my household is not pleased about it all, I have my niece and my sister working on the east bank, my two grandchildren to send to school, all the way from Sophia, we are not pleased at all…,” she said. The increase has caused France to spend a total of $2500 extra in transportation per month, for just herself and her grandchildren.
Keshia Algernon, a public servant expressed her dissatisfaction saying, “Things are increasing, we need an increase in the public service too; gas prices go down, and they don’t carry the fare down…” Algernon related that the increase has caused her and her son to spend an extra $80 daily.
“They don’t deserve this extra $20”, she said.
John Wayne, a 30-year-old attendant at the GPHC remarked, “Just like how they raise de bus fare, the people money got to raise too.”
One letter writer also suggested that, despite the fare increase, minibus drivers are still subjecting commuters to lousy service.
“Twenty dollar increase across the board for minibus fares is a meager amount, but minibus operators are still offering distasteful service and will continue to do so indefinitely, “the writer said.
“I say this because I am positive that they will continue to demand commuters to, ” gi me a squeeze deh, shake down lil deh, every bady gah fuh live,four in a bar from the back.
“ Loud and lewd music after a hard day’s work, shaky seats, stuck like bologna among sweaty and smelly conductors and passengers and the list goes on. When will the government introduce some big buses for the public on all routes?
“Make the lives of the citizens of Guyana a bit less stressful and a little more comfortable. It’s a tremendous and tiresome hassle using transportation ( minibuses) provided by private citizens every Monday to Friday. It’s time the politicians take a step out of their classy and “A” grade offices and take a walk on the minibus parks especially on weekday afternoons between the hours of three and six p.m. Come and have a firsthand experience of what it is like to board a minibus to arrive at your destinations. Every afternoon citizens can be seen walking and sometimes literally running up and down Lombard Street beginning from the old GNCB bank and extending to Herman and Sons Tailoring Shop and onward just to get in a minibus to get home. Some persons can be seen dashing across the road between the oncoming traffic also, children included. Should we really have to practice for a relay or marathon after a hard day’s work? Some persons even walk as far as GNIC or further to get into a minibus which means that more than likely when the minibuses arrive at Stabroek they are filled or almost filled, thus the hassle/circus ensues.
Sometimes we are left on the roadways until after 6 pm. Sadly, arriving to Georgetown in the mornings is no different. If one doesn’t leave home the latest at 6:45 am you’re bound to be late for work or school or use the alternative route via the speedboat. This hassle only describes the ordeal of citizens using the 31 route. I am positive that there are persons plying other routes with similar or worse situations.
Will this lawlessness ever change? Who really cares about the man below the ladder? Can every commuter really afford this extra $20.00? Or is it because ministers of government and politicians enjoy fancy car rides equipped with ACs and adequate space? “
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