Minibuses are still being overloaded and charging illegal fares

Dear Editor,

Quite conveniently, in response to the Stabroek News editorial on Tuesday, a letter was penned by a Rowena A. Elliot on Wednesday, clarifying the increase in the minibus fares.

Whist the writer finds time to make the clarification, nothing was mentioned about the increases which have already taken place on certain routes by the minibus operators, or how to remedy those situations. As it stands presently, the increases will cause some commuters at least one hundred and sixty dollars more a day, whilst the bus operators will be earning at least three hundred dollars more per trip.

With all the glorious plans of enhancements promised by the minibus union, I would like to know what percentage of the buses the union represents, and for which zones. The majority of minibuses operate without conductors and hold out to transport the minimum of fifteen passengers.

At Vreed-en-Hoop, this is very prevalent and the monitor there assists in loading the buses. Passengers then have the discomfort of opening and closing the door, and extra time is wasted by this covetous act.

Already the increases have started before the stipulated time, and despite the increases, buses are still being overloaded. There are still bus operators who are telling you a fare which is far above the agreed fare.  This occurs mostly when buses are limited, especially in the evening, at the Route 32 bus park in Georgetown.

Since the authority responsible for monitoring the speedboats published the rules, fares and numbers for complaints, massive changes have been seen in the boat operators, especially on the Georgetown/ Vreed-en-Hoop route. This has come about because the authorities were fed up of complaints, and now people have access to telephone numbers which they can call and make reports.

Perhaps the Guyana Police Force could explore this possibility and establish centres within the traffic department of each station and assign a direct number for each station which commuters can call and lodge complaints. The ranks could then go out and wait for the overloaded bus.

With all the plans the union promised, I am certain the majority of them will not materialise. In order for them to regulate themselves, they would have to be monitored closely and quick contact with the station is one of the best ways. As for the dress codes, I surely will hope to see the day that happens. If all the minibuses cooperate and work in an orderly fashion, there is no need for touting.

Yours faithfully,

Sahadeo Bates

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