The National Council on Public Transportation(NCOPT) is seeking the Saint Lucia government’s assistance in addressing discrepancies in the new bus fares that went into effect recently.
NCOPT President Godfrey Ferdinand explained that in some instances where the fare should be $1.50, the figure on the official rate sheet is $1.75.
He said in other instances, instead of $1.75, the fare on the sheet is $2.00.
“Some of it is due to typo errors,” Ferdinand told St Lucia Times, adding that there was also a need to address some boundary issues.
And he disclosed that the NCOPT was in the process of highlighting the errors to the Ministry of Transport to get the matter rectified.
Ferdinand explained that for some fare discrepancies, some operators would adhere to the fee before the government granted the increase.
But he said most bus operators stick to what they know is the correct fare.
“Obviously you would get some troublesome passengers that would create issues for everything and that’s why we want the government to correct it,” the NCOPT President stated.
“In some areas, very few, maybe about three to four areas we have received serious complaints. However generally the commuters and the operators are working together because some of these areas are community routes so they would know whether the fare was to go up by 25 cents or 50 cents or a dollar,” Ferdinand noted.
“On the long routes persons would be maybe a bit confused as to whether they should be paying the dollar or the 50 cents between, let’s say Castries to Vieux Fort or Castries To Soufriere. So what’s the fare for Canaries? What’s the fare for the Desruisseaux Gap coming from Castries?”
“Some of these things are what we are trying to change,” he observed.
Ferdinand revealed that the new fare structure went through the bus associations, the NCOPT, the Ministry of Transport, the Attorney General’s Office, and then to the printery.
“Somewhere along the line you could have some errors especially if one does not understand the concept of how this thing is done. We tried to reduce some of the errors, but obviously it didn’t work out,” the NCOPT President told St Lucia Times.
In addition, Ferdinand asserted that all fare adjustments have contained errors.
“It’s just that this time around there are a bit too many,” he declared.
In this regard, he appealed to the public and bus operators to work with the NCOPT while corrections were made.
“Ninety-five percent of the operators would work with the public,” he told St Lucia Times.
On the other hand, Ferdinand acknowledged that some bus operators would see the situation as an opportunity to engage in price-gouging, which would negatively impact the public transport sector.
Headline photo: Stock image