Plan to Increase Bus fare a Heartless Act
We haven’t made the decision if it will go up by a $1.50 or if it will go up by $2, we don’t know now, but certainly all of that has to be accessed to make a decision as to where bus fares will go – Minister of Transport William Duguid
During the debate of the 2019 Appropriations Bill and Estimates- The Standing Finance Committee, Minister Duguid felt sufficiently emboldened to announce that active consideration is being given to a hike in bus fare. The idea that the bus fare maybe increased by $1.50 or $2.00 smacks of a callousness which challenges rational thought.
After ten years of living in a challenging economic environment and the understandable fatigue that has enveloped the citizenry- Duguid’s revelation must be labelled no more than ‘flying the proverbial kite“. There is no way the government of Barbados can consider raising bus fare in the economic climate of the BERT variety.
It is a nobrainer to the least observant that the segment of population dependent on public transport occupies the lower socio economic rung. For the government to have the ‘bravado’ to broach an increase in bus fare at this time smacks of political-rape.
Have the chickens coming home to roost?
- The poor financial state of the Transport Board is a fact.
- That successive governments have used the Transport Board as a political play ground is a fact.
- That the last government supported the Transport Board to starve UCAL of resources and at the same time outsource work to private contractors for hundreds of thousands dollars is a fact.
- The last Transport Board leadership under Sandra Forde despite expending hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain an old fleet was unable to purchase a single new bus, a fact.
The biggest irony is that we have the incumbent government signalling to increase bus fare to $4.00, however, the current financial state of the Transport Board is a result of political patronage practised by BOTH DLP and BLP over the years. There is the oft saying that a people get the government they deserve. This smells like a numbers game by accountants determined to shave numbers to fit into an excel worksheet.
In a related matter the blogmaster took careful note of former Minister of Transport Michael Lashley successful attempt to explore a ‘loophole’ in the law which saw Magistrate Graveney Bannister dismissing a case against a PSV worker he represented.