Fare hike pending, says Shaw

TRANSPORT and Mining Minister Audley Shaw on Tuesday confirmed that the Government is considering a possible fare hike for the transport sector.

“We are looking at the potential for fare increases,” Shaw said his sectoral presentation in the House of Representatives, adding that when they are implemented the fare increases “must be strictly adhered to”.

But Shaw stressed that “the conduct of people charging anything they want has to stop”.

Shaw’s confirmation comes after public transport operators, who have been clamouring for an increase since a 15 per cent fare hike was granted in 2021, indicated their intention on Sunday to make an official submission to the Government for a fare hike of 110 per cent.

The desire for this increase had been floated earlier this year by president of Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services Egeton Newman, who had first made this known in March.

In a release issued on Sunday, the national transportation steering committee, which is co-founded by Newman, announced the impending formal submission, noting that the request comes as a result of the steady rise in costs associated with running and maintaining transportation services across the country.

“The proposed fare increase aims to address various operational costs and service improvements necessary to enhance the quality of services to the public. The committee is of the view that a fare increase will enable the industry to continue providing safe, efficient, and reliable transportation that meets the needs of commuters,” the statement read.

Newman told the Jamaica Observer on Monday that the committee’s plan had been to make the submission before Shaw spoke in the House on Tuesday, but the document had not yet been completed. Therefore, the new plan was to be by Wednesday or Thursday this week.

In its release, the committee said it understood the implications of a fare increase on the public at this time, especially given the challenging economic environment.

It noted, however, that this adjustment is necessary but will not materialise until a comprehensive review of current transportation costs and the need to ensure sustainable and reliable transportation services for the public are realised.

On Tuesday, during his presentation, Shaw also advised that the Government, working with the National Works Agency, intends to provide more bus stops “especially in some areas where bus stops used to be and they are not there anymore”.

He said Government will also be looking into providing more parking areas for public passenger vehicles.