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Nov 23, 2016

Bus Fares Are Fair and Agreed to by Owners, Says Transport Minister

While NEMO Minister Edmond ‘Clear the Land’ Castro may not be fully abreast on the details of the arson in Trio, in his capacity as Minister of Transport he is quite versed on the public transportation landscape.  He spoke with the media at length this morning, explaining the rate adjustments in bus fares across the country.  It’s an issue that is seeing commuters, as well as some bus owners crying foul.  According to Castro, the rates were agreed upon among bus operators prior to a formal list being gazetted. 

 

Edmond Castro

Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport

“That list has been published, the SI has been signed.  But what I can tell you, I cannot give you each and every one, there are thousands of bus runs.  But when you look at the south, within the first hundred miles, between twelve and fourteen cents a mile, preferably we try to keep it at twelve cents a mile.  In some areas where it was sixteen and seventeen cents a mile, we readjusted it down to fourteen cents a mile.  You have areas, like for example, the bus owners came up with this, they were a part of the [process] and were consulted and they were saying that if they could get a readjustment of fares then they would be able to improve the quality of service and better buses and so on.  So the next set of conversation will be around the age of the buses, we will not allow bus 1959 and sixty and seventy buses on our highway.  We are trying to come up with a standard of maybe perhaps not older than ten years running on our highway, which I believe will improve the better quality buses on our highway, improve the quality of services for our commuters and I think that would be very good for the commuting public.  In areas whereby, for example, in 1992 was the last time an SI was signed, 1992.  In 2010, as the minister responsible for transport, we came up with verbal arrangement or agreement with the bus companies to balance it out at ten cents a mile.  In some areas, like for example in the north, the buses running in the north continue to run at a subsidized rate at seven and eight cents a mile.  Orange Walk, I think, is fifty-five miles.  To Orange Walk they were still running for three dollars and fifty cents and four dollars a mile.  That would not happen in the case whereby the run from Belize City to Belmopan which was fifty miles, five miles shorter, which was five dollars.  The route on the Northern Highway was three-fifty and four dollars.  That was there choice to stay at the old 1992 agreed SI rate, however, we can’t stop the bus owners from charging less.”

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