PSV owners are worried about the viability of their business. (FILE
Minibus and route taxi owners are predicting increased operating costs as a result of the recent economic measures outlined by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Amor Mottley in the Mini-Budget.
And while the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) and Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) say the removal of the National Social Responsibility Levy would go some way in easing their expenses, they say that the new measures might drive some out of business.
In a joint statement, the associations said cost increases of the magnitude suffered by the sector over a long period could not be sustained by the private owners in the public transportation industry at the present income level.
“And while the sector has been struggling to remain viable up to this point, with little success, the new impositions which will come into effect on July 1, will surely drive operators into insolvency if there is not an increase in the legislated bus fare.”
They said the suggested increase of bus fare to $3 might have to “be reviewed in the circumstances imposed by the recent Budget”, adding an increase to $3 was still well below the accepted cost of providing the service.
“We acknowledge that the removal of the National Social Responsibility Levy on inputs will lessen the impact somewhat, but this benefit is difficult to quantify and will certainly not offset the increases in operating costs caused by the new measures.”
The release added it was “unquestionably wrong for a Government to force private entrepreneurs to subsidise public transportation out of their own pockets, and this aspect of our operations needs to be addressed immediately if the sector is to be in a position to continue to offer service to the travelling public come July 1”.
In the June 11 Mini-Budget, Mottley announced a fuel tax to be introduced at 40 cents per litre on gasoline and diesel, and the implementation of the new registration fee replacing 50 per cent of the abolished road tax. (PR/HLE)