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Mar 31, 2020

Bus Association Says That They Need Help ASAP!

Ewart Metzgen

Unlike health workers, bus operators believe they are being left out in the cold when it comes to support during this pandemic.  Today, Secretary of the Belize Bus Association called to say that they are puzzled about the Prime Minister’s response to a question about relief for the bus industry. Ewart Metzgen says that during the live press conference the PM claimed that the bus operators were asking for too much. According to Metzgen that is not so and that he provided operational costs for a week to give the Oversight Committee an idea of how much it costs to keep their operators on the road. Metzgen says that they would at least want some help when it comes to the fuel because that represents a chunk of their costs. Here’s how he explains it.


On the Phone: Ewart Metzgen, Secretary, BBA

“What we were asking for, we were asking for too much and they are looking at to see what sort of assistance they can give. I don’t know how it was presented to him but we were asked to put together a complete overview of our financials for bus operators and send it off to the department of transport so that it could be sent to fin sec to see what sort of relief that bus operators would have gotten. But what we sent – we know that we can’t that but it was for them to see the operational cost of each operator and what we are losing. But if they look at the figures they will see that the fuel cost compared to what we pay in salary is twice that of the salary. Our concern is the fuel part. If we are to continue operating out there, if it is even one or two buses, we still need the assistance of the government even more now that state of emergency has been put in place there will be less people to transport on the road. The operators can’t continue to take the losses and our finances are drying up and so even if from the fuel point of view we need that assistance. To us, we feel like we are being pushed aside and we are not being taken seriously and like we don’t matter any at all. So, through this medium, I would like to say to the PM that the figures that were given to you, we know you can’t give us all that but it was for you all to see the expenses we are going through day to day. It was operational cost for seven days for each individual company that is still operating. If they can give us fifty percent of what the fuel costs or if they could give us the fuel duty free, meaning take away the taxes from it and let’s say maybe we get the fuel for five dollars or five-fifty a gallon or something that will go a long way. Because maybe the extra money we are saving off that we can use maybe to help pay our employees.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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