Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2016. 1:23 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: Belizeans who commute between Belize City, Belmopan, San Ignacio and Benque yesterday saw a a one-dollar increase in bus fares by 2 bus operators, namely Westline and the Belize Bus Owners Cooperative (BBOC), including for stops in the villages along the route. The fare from Belize City to Belmopan increased from $5.00 to $6.00 and from San Ignacio to Belmopan went from $3.00 to $4.00 on the regular run, and an additional dollar on the express runs. Operators are legally authorized to charge $.10 a mile for the regular runs, however, the increases implemented went way above this figure.
Operators who form the Belize Bus Association (BBA) went public with their concerns that commuters should pay the rate legally agreed upon in order to keep up with the major increase in operating cost, particularly the high cost of fuel. However, in an exclusive interview, President of the Association, Thomas Shaw, told Breaking Belize News this morning that “while the BBA members were discussing an increase in bus fares, the rates were not approved by the Transport Board, and as such the implementation of the new fares were illegal”. BBN understands that Westline and BBOC implemented the new rates as a means of ‘civil protest’ so that government would be ‘forced to listen to their concerns’.
On Wednesday afternoon and this morning, President of the Association, Thomas Shaw, was in meetings with Minister of State responsible for Transport, Hon. Edmond Castro. Apart from the Belize Bus Association’s desire to increase fares, other topics being discussed at today’s meeting is the Ministry’s intent to ensure compliance of its list of 37 regulations that bus companies must adhere to in order to keep and receive their road service permits and licenses, and the Ministry’s seriousness to stop overcrowding of buses.
Following today’s meeting, Breaking Belize News will provide an update on this developing story.
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