President of the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) Godfrey Ferdinand has made a case for a hike in bus fares, claiming on a Choice Television programme recently that the last in-crease in bus fares was 14 years ago.
Ferdinand who was a guest on the programme SoLUCIANS, said the increase the NCOPT is fighting for and is expected to get come next month, is not of his association’s doing.
“It’s a price-controlled commodity so we have to seek the increase from government. Every time we (approached) government for an increase, government would say to us the environment is not good, the economy is not growing, can you just take a subsidy instead and a fuel/permit rebate? We (will) give you X amount of money so that you don’t raise the bus fare,” Ferdinand said.
“But what really caused the guys to say we really need the increase… when you put into perspec-tive the amount we are receiving to offset bus fare, it means that the government is saying we’ll give you $1.50 a day. When you put the math together it just doesn’t make sense, it cannot cover our operations on a given day. If we were to put 25 cents on the fare (and) multiply (it) by 14 pas-sengers, that is better, that would be able to cover some of our losses,” Ferdinand said.
He said at the time the gestures were made by government the NCOPT accepted them because the environment was different then and that the cost of commodities were “not that high”.
“Now even though you were to put all these subsidies together, it just wouldn’t work for us. (Bus) operators have moved from six working days to three working days for some routes, two working days for some routes and four working days for some,” Ferdinand said.