Transport Minister Stephenson King and the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) will meet on Sunday against the backdrop of fuel price hikes that went into effect on Monday.
Gasoline and diesel increased from $3.07 to $3.29 per litre or $13.95 to $14.95 per gallon.
At the same time, the LPG 100 Pound Cylinder (45.36kg) increased from $257.95 to $266.43.
“We will be meeting on Sunday with the Minister of Transport – I am not sure whether the Prime Minister will be there, but they have reached out to us,” NCOPT President Godfrey Ferdinand said.
Ferdinand told St Lucia Times that Sunday’s gathering would pave the way for a general meeting between the NCOPT and the government.
He said the Presidents of the various bus associations under the NCOPT umbrella would then be able to voice their concerns and suggest solutions regarding concessions, exemptions, and requests.
The NCOPT President has lamented what he described as an unfair bus fare in the past.
According to him, while prices have gone up everywhere, bus operators have not had an increase in some ten years.
The NCOPT had also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on passenger loads negatively impacted bus operators’ incomes.
Regarding the upcoming meetings, Ferdinand explained that traditionally the government would make an offer.
“We make an offer, and then the members go to their different associations to decide ‘Are we taking this from the government?” He told St Lucia Times.
“Also, as the executive, we try to guide the general council in telling them where we should go as a sector and where we should not go,” Ferdinand stated.
He expressed that currently, it seems that the associations are ready to make presentations regarding whether they favour measures such as a fare increase, continued concessions, or rebates.
But he explained that bus drivers would have preferred meetings before the recent fuel price hikes.
According to the NCOPT President, in such a case the bus operators would have known the government’s position before the increases took effect.
Headline stock photo: (L to R) Godfrey Ferdinand & Stephenson King