Saint Lucia’s National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) has expressed concern over the latest hikes in the prices for gasoline and diesel, which took effect on Monday.
The cost of gasoline increased from $3.51 to $3.95per litre or $15.95 to $17.95 per gallon, while diesel rose from $3.65 to $3.95per litre or from $16.58 to $17.95per gallon.
“How will we be able to handle that? How long will it stay like this? And if it stays like this, how can we survive?” Declared NCOPT President Godfrey Ferdinand.
Ferdinand noted that minibus operators expect a bus fare adjustment next month.
But he told St Lucia Times that the NCOPT is not hearing from the authorities regarding the measure but hopes they are doing what is necessary to ensure the fare hike is in place by July 1.
In addition, the NCOPT President said the organisation hopes to have another meeting with the government to determine how to ‘ride the wave’ of fuel hikes.
“We never really anticipated that it would have been so bad. We need to to see how we both can cope. The government needs to cope – we need to cope. How do we reach a compromise?” Ferdinand explained.
A 2013 bus fare review recommended bus fare increases, and the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) agreed to its implementation.
However, Ferdinand told St Lucia Times it was not an actual fare hike.
“Common sense mathematics tells you that if you got something in 2013 and you are applying it in 2022, you are still in the negative,” he said.
Ferdinand observed that 2022 inflation is higher than in 2013.
“It’s not an increase. It’s just something to cushion what we are presently experiencing,” Ferdinand stated.
The NCOPT President also observed that the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine had put more pressure on bus operators.
“We are hoping that the Caribbean Development Bank report would give a true picture of what we really should get in 2022 because there is actually a study taking place right now,” Ferdinand disclosed.