JIS News

In keeping with the recent recommendations of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), bus and taxi fares are to be increased by 20 per cent, effective Saturday, January 16, 2010.
Transport and Works Minister, the Hon Mike Henry, in advising of the pending new transportation rate, said that the bus and taxi operators had convinced the OUR of the need for a fare adjustment, which the Government also accepted.
He stated that the three official umbrella taxi associations – the National Council of Taxi Associations (NCOTA), the National Association of Taxi Operators (NATO) and the Route Taxi Association of Jamaica (RTAJ) – requested a 30 per cent increase, but the OUR recommended 18 per cent. The minister added two per cent in recognition of the soon-to-be-effective surcharge on fuel sales.
However, Minister Henry said that, in keeping with the wage freeze recently announced in respect of the public sector workforce over the next two years, no further bus or taxi fare increases will be granted for the same period.
In relation to the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) services, the company’s application and the applicable OUR recommendation will be examined by the Cabinet early in the New Year, with a decision to be announced thereafter. The JUTC last got a fare increase in August 2005, almost five years ago, while the private bus and taxi operators were granted a 25 per cent increase last year.
The Government had charged the JUTC’s management to target improved efficiency, ahead of the company being considered for a fare increase, and with that objective met, the company is now in line for the promised consideration. The JUTC’s current fares are $50 for adults outside the concessionary groups, and $15 for concessionary passengers, inclusive of the elderly, the disabled and school children.
In advising the bus and taxi operators of the seriousness of the two-year freeze on any further fare increase, Minister Henry said the Government was cognisant of the limits to which the consumer – in this case the commuters – could cope with increases in the cost of living.
He said with a wage freeze being imposed, it was only fair that a similar freeze be imposed on transportation costs.

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