Fare increase well deservedMonday, August 16, 2021
Today, Monday, August 16, 2021, commuters will be paying 15 per cent more for bus/taxi fares than they paid last week. The transport operators are not happy. I, too, am not happy.
I am unhappy not because of the increase, but because successive governments have treated the transport sector with disdain, partially because neither they nor their family members take buses/route taxis.
These people have not got an increase since August 2013 when they received an additional 25 per cent. The previous adjustment was in 2008 when they received an increase of between 25 and 30 per cent.
Let us be reasonable. It is beyond logic that an increase should be granted after five and eight years, respectively. My Cartesian mind tells me that transport operators should receive an increase at regular intervals. I would be in favour of every two years. No way should three years pass by and transport operators not receive an increase.
What I am advocating for the transport operators I am also advocating for minimum wage earners and pensioners.
Increases, in my opinion, should ideally come at the beginning of the financial year or, if the minister doesn't want these increases to come too close to the reading of the budget,s let them come at the beginning of quarter 3 or quarter 4, but at regular intervals.
The highway toll is increased annually. Utilities are increased with regularity. Why shouldn't this be the same for transport operators?
This increase should be in line with inflation — not more than 7 per cent at present. It is apparent that after eight years the transport operators expected at least 25 per cent. But this couldn't be. It would stoke inflation to such an extent that the transport operators themselves would end up being unhappy.
Let us look at one expenditure of transport operators — fuel. On August 8, 2013 the prices for 87, 90, and diesel fuel were approximately $114.76, $116.42, and $115.72, respectively. Today, the corresponding prices are $156.44, $163.20, and $144.71. This represents an increase of 36.31 per cent, 40.18 per cent, and 25.05 per cent, respectively.
Can you see why the transport operators are fuming? And fuel represents only one cost.
Lastly, we are given only a percentage — not actual fares. My fares are usually $100.00, $120.00, $150.00, $250.00, and $500.00. My fares should therefore be increased to $115.00, $138.00, $172.50, $287.50, and $575.00. Chances are that the operators will demand $120.00, $140.00, $180.00, and $600.00 — at least.
Whatever happens, I hope that good sense prevails and, in future, governments will opt for regularity and not allow for eight years to elapse.
Norman W M Thompson