Amid a persistent clamour by minibus drivers for an increase in fares, Transport Minister Stephenson King has announced plans for a study to determine a scientific formula for such decision-making.
“We understand what the bus drivers are engaged in, but as we speak the Ministry of Transport – the Department of Transport is undertaking a study that will inform us on a scientific method of computing public transportation rates,” the former Prime Minister told reporters.
“So we want to do it in a very scientific way so it’s not an arbitrary thing. It is not one based on emotions or one based on rising prices and after you hear nothing. So we want it scientifically that all will benefit,” King explained.
According to the Minister, a meeting with the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) President on Friday pointed to an increase in fuel.
Effective Monday, gasoline and diesel prices increased by $1.00 from $13.95 to $14.95 per gallon, while LPG 100 lb. cylinders increased from $257.95 to $266.43
“We need to sit down and work out some mechanism that will allow them to operate at an economic rate and that the people of the country will not be affected,” Minister King stated regarding bus operators.
Bus drivers have complained that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their operations, making it difficult for them to meet their financial obligations when they have not had a fare increase for over a decade, while prices everywhere are going up.
The Transport Minister told reporters that the drivers called for a fare hike long before COVID-19.
However he explained that, unfortunately, the situation in the country is such that the people cannot be put under any more pressure.
“We have to be reasonable both to the bus drivers and to the passengers, “King said.