Among the issues that the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and the United Minibus Union (UMU) agreed to at their meeting on last Saturday, was an immediate reduction in the fares for Zone 32 (Georgetown to Parika), with all short drops being reduced from $100 to $80; and Georgetown to Parika from $500 to $400.
A release from the ministry said that it was agreed that “minibus transport is essentially a small man’s mode of transportation and every effort must be explored to avoid an imposition of hardship on the commuting public.” It said that while discussions at the meeting covered the minibus situation countrywide, discussions had focused on using the Zone 32 (Georgetown to Parika) and the Zone 31 (Georgetown to Patentia) as pilot target areas.
The union had initially proposed and tabled an interim fare structure but after the discussions it will be re-presented in greater detail within the next two weeks.
Other issues agreed upon were that fares must be displayed in all minibuses, and passengers will pay only what is posted and signed by the union, in conjunction with the ministry and that law enforcement agencies will be asked to assist.
The UMU planned to meet with the zone 31 minibuses on Monday “to discuss their grievances and explore solutions favourable to all stakeholders.”
The ministry said that it will continue to engage the United Minibus Union “with the hope of developing a cordial and mutually beneficial relationship, thereby creating a platform for positive and objective interaction.”
According to the release, the “UMU will also intensify their high level engagement with the Ministry of Home Affairs, and Works and Transport.”
It said that both parties will work on evaluating the case advanced by the UMU for reviewing and establishing acceptable structured fares, applicable to all minibus zones in Guyana; as well as a plan to improve the service to the consumers.
This would include eliminating touting, hot plating and overcrowding; promoting respect for the elderly and minimising other uncaring practices; and adopting a dress code; it noted that UMU’s contribution in implementing this in the University of Guyana sub-zone was commended by the ministry.
The meeting noted with grave concern, a report which suggested that many minibuses engaged in rogue behaviour, to which traffic policemen seem reluctant or incapable of moving against, were owned by law-enforcement officials, and also persons attached to other state-owned agencies, the release concluded.