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Beware of X-mas season transportation fare hikes – Govt – Guyana Times

…says no approval given; action taken against 8 speedboat operators

The Public Works Ministry has made it pellucid that no fare increase has been authorised by the Government, and the public is being warned to be wary of exploitation from public transportation service providers around this Christmas season.
It has been revealed that a number of speedboat operators have already been suspended for engaging in the unscrupulous practice of price gouging.

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill

On Tuesday, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill addressed the issue of fare increases by speedboat operators and other providers of public transport as he responded to Opposition Member of Parliament Juretha Fernandes, who brought to the attention of the house the practice of price gouging being engaged in by Bartica speed boat operators.
Edghill made it clear that the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has oversight of these boat operators, and no fare increase has been authorised. He therefore made it clear that speedboat operators who have hiked their fares are doing so without the approval of MARAD, and most likely even their association.

The Government has warned commuters not to fall victim to fare hikes

“As it relates to the issue of charging extra by speedboat operators, all speedboat services in Guyana operate and are regulated by MARAD, of which I’m the minister responsible. The speedboats put themselves into a turn system, and they are organized by their respective associations. So, if there are 40 boats and they have turns, they meet. Who has turn one, two, three, they load on a daily basis and traverse the river based on a principled approach,” he explained.
“Anyone who’s charging more certainly is not doing so with the blessings of MARAD. And I can honestly say, based on my engagements with the speedboat associations, not with the speedboat associations in the various areas,” he declared.
Edghill explained that the Ministry has persons at the stelling checking speedboats as they depart, and documenting their trips. He noted that, in many cases, persons want to leave without the boat being fully loaded, and thus attract extra fees.

“But as far as we’re concerned, I can assure the honourable member, (neither) MARAD nor the Government of Guyana have…sanctioned, approved, or condoned overcharging on minibuses, speedboats, or even when it comes to aircraft fares; any fare being hiked. As the Minister of Transportation, we pay careful attention to these, and we have been monitoring it. So, if there are unscrupulous operators or there are arrangements between operators and passengers, there’s hardly anything we can do; but it would be a good opportunity to remind the travelling public, especially at Christmas time, when we can have that type of exploitation,” the Minister further explained.

Edghill, moreover, stressed that his message goes not only for speedboat operators, but minibus operators as well. He made it pellucid that action will be taken once public transportation providers are caught hiking fares, and he said, “We rely on voluntary compliance and moral persuasion, but we are not afraid to use the fist when necessary to maintain law and order and protect citizens from being exploited.”
Meanwhile, Minister within the Public Works Ministry, Deodat Indar, revealed that the Ministry has already taken action against eight speedboat operators.
“Just to add to what Minister Edghill just said: three weeks ago, we had a campaign where eight of those boats were detained, and some of them were suspended because of that practice. So it’s not like we received the reports and we didn’t act; we acted on them,” Minister Indar explained. (G3)

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