Route 44 minibus operators protest increase in fuel prices

first_imgMinibus operators who ply their trade at various routes between Georgetown and Mahaica, on the East Coast of Demerara, continue their protest as they demand that Government immediately address the issue of rising fuel prices.Several buses lined off at Lusignan Tarmac, East Coast DemeraraAs a result of the increase in fuel prices, a group of irate minibus operators on Thursday morning blocked the Vryheid’s Lust access junction along the East Coast railway embankment. There, several tires were burnt and an old cars set on fire to garner the attention needed with the hope of addressing the situation.The minibus operators posited that they were adversely affected by the sudden hike in the price for gasoline and diesel at gas stations across the country.They said too that they are already struggling to run profitable enterprises when one looks at the various expenses they face on a daily basis. “We need the gas to drop or the fare must raise; we got family to maintain, bills got to pay,” Harichand Ramlall expressed.Price structures according to Government media agency, DPIOthers said that over 100 minibuses are supporting the strike action while others are finding it difficult to physically support the action because of their dire financial situation.Another operator broke down the expenses associated with plying his trade as he called those in authority to respect the hard working men and ordinary Guyanese.“It takes $7000 per day to run a bus. Insurance is $240,000 a year. You got to pay $200 a day to load at the park to pay the City Council and every 4000 kilometers you got to service. Back liner got to change, brake pads is another expense. When you done load your gas, there ain’t got nothing much left for you,” an operator indicated.With the operators having no formal minibus association, Leroy Murphy took the charge and showed revised structures that they are proposing for members of the public to pay with increases of $20 and $40 depending on the area.Questioned by this publication, several of the operators claimed that they would be willing to lower the fares once the gas prices return to the original fares.“Once the gas goes back to the normal price, we are willing to drop back the fare to the normal price… we’re committing to that,” Wesley Jacobs who has been a minibus operator for over six years indicated.Gas stations price for fuel have increased rapidly from $215 per litre last week to prices ranging from $230 to $250 per litre this week. The Guyana Oil Company was selling for $230 per litre while $247 is selling for Shell per litre for gasoline.That situation continues today as the Government remains indifferent and mum on the matter. Nevertheless, the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Thursday issued claims of price structures which appeared to be cheaper than what reports suggested.This comes after the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) urged Government to act swiftly on the matter. On Wednesday, the trade union said this sudden hike in fuel prices will burden consumers. In a strongly worded statement to the media, the union said Government must stop “turning a blind eye to what is taking place” and proactively act in the interest of people.The union noted that the reduction of the taxes on fuel will bring some reprieve to the “overburdened” class of working people. Having highlighted newly implemented taxes, increase in extant taxes and higher food costs, FITUG contended that no person would be spared as the increased costs of fuel will be passed on to the consumer in one way or another.However, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin had disclosed that the matter was still to be addressed by Cabinet. DPI has meanwhile noted that world prices have shot up in recent weeks, mainly due to the withdrawal of the Trump-led United States from the Iran nuclear deal.last_img read more