By JADE RUSSELL
TRANSPORT and Housing Minister JoBeth Coleby-Davis says she is hoping relief packages for bus drivers will be sorted out this week.
In addition to the minister’s meeting with the drivers, she told reporters yesterday there was also a meeting with Prime Minister Philip Davis and the Minister of Economic Affairs Michael Halkitis in regard to the relief packages for bus drivers.
Mrs Coleby-Davis said: “The first package is a temporary relief package that we’re working on and we’re hoping that one is sorted this week, which is what Minister Halkitis has promised me. That one I think would be assistance through vouchers for gas.”
Although the value or how often the vouchers may be used has not been decided, Mrs Coleby-Davis said she’s waiting on the minister of economic affairs to confirm those details.
She continued: “Then we’ll still be reconsidering the fare increase but it wouldn’t come until probably the new year.”
The Bahamas Unified Bus Drivers Union (BUBDU) has been vocal in its stance for the government to approve a passenger fare increase in recent months due to high gasoline costs. In July, numerous jitney drivers protested at RM Bailey park for the government to increase the fares.
Drivers are proposing an increase in adult fares from $1.25 to $2, seniors from 75 cents to $1, junior and senior students from $1 to 1.25 and primary school students to remain at 50 cents.
When asked about the process of the taxi plates she described it as being fairly smooth.
Through the process officials realised a lot of persons who were still leasing had not been included.
A substation was set up in Loyola hall that allowed persons to be able to bring in their documentation and be assisted in the vetting process.
Those persons who went through that process were then issued their plates.
She continued: “We still have quite a number of them who didn’t meet that one. So, we’re just going through a vetting process. And when we get to another point where we can begin, assisting more we’ll get them assisted.”
The minister told reporters over 200 plates have been issued.
Further, price gouging by taxi drivers was also a concern raised, as drivers have commonly overcharged the cab rates for tourists.
She highlighted that in the past taxi cabs had a pricing list placed inside the cabs which allowed customers to see the listed pricing.
“We’re looking at ways to make sure that it’s very clear what the pricing is for our tourists, our guests, and persons utilising the service so that we can avoid some of those concerns.”