Document reveals $5 fare hike plans
A BUS FARE HIKE from $2 to $5.40 had been proposed during the Democratic Labour Party Administration.
This was revealed by acting general manager of the Transport Board, Felicia Sue, who said yesterday the increase was contained in a Transport Board 2016 document labelled Statement Of Intent.
Asked by Member of Parliament for St Michael West Central, Ian Gooding-Edghill, “to confirm whether or not there was a suggestion that bus fare would have been computed at $5.40” in the board’s 2016 Statement of Corporate Intent, Sue replied: “That is correct, and it was done taking into consideration the rate of inflation and the discussion with the Central Bank at that time.”
Rumours about plans to increase bus fares to $5 were in the public domain last year, while public service operators pressed for fares to go up. During yesterday’s debate on the Estimates Of Revenue And Expenditure, Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley also pressed Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid to give a definitive statement about layoffs at the Transport Board. He also wanted him to say whether bus fare was indeed going to $5, as he noted the board was receiving a reduced subsidy of $15 million in the coming year as opposed to $23 million last year.
But Duguid remained firm in his assertion that no definite figure could be given.
However, he contended that the island’s main transport agency was spending on average between $6 and $7 million per month, while taking in on average $1.5 million monthly.
“That means that the Transport Board requires from the taxpayers of Barbados a subsidy of $5 million per month. That is not sustainable, so it is clear that we have to restructure the Transport Board,” Duguid stated.
He added that under Phase 3 of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation plan, the Transport Board had to be restructured. (GC)