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Port Authority disowns ‘unlawful and illegal’ water taxi fare increases

Posted: Friday, April 8, 2022. 1:23 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Channel 7 News reported this week that the major water taxi operators between Belize City, Caye Caulker, and San Pedro Town have raised prices between five and 11 dollars.

The San Pedro Belize Express taxi is projected to charge $47 to Caye Caulker and $67 to San Pedro round trip, an increase of five dollars from the previous price, while Ocean Ferry lifted the comparative prices per distance to $42 and $52 respectively; the former rose by $7 and the latter $11.

But the Belize Port Authority has put paid to that for now, issuing a press release this afternoon stressing, “The Belize Port Authority has not approved any increase in passenger fares and any charges to commuters above the approved rates are unlawful and will not be tolerated.”

Operators charging above the prescribed prices will be subject to offer refunds and face charges under the Harbours and Merchant Shipping (Water Taxi) Regulations, which could draw a fine of $5,000 for every ticket sold and even see their licenses revoked.

According to the price list sent with the release and exhibited above, a water taxi to San Pedro should cost no more than $55 round trip or $35 one-way, while a ride to Caye Caulker from Belize City or San Pedro is priced at $25 one-way, $35 round trip. Prices are also exhibited for runs in the North from Corozal Town and Sarteneja and in the South from Independence, Placencia, and Punta Gorda to Guatemala and Honduras.

The Authority has not announced any decision on dealing with the rise of fuel and oil prices that is almost undoubtedly driving the increases, but chides, “The Belize Port Authority is alarmed at the total disregard for the law by some water taxi operators and it has taken urgent and immediate steps to ensure that all water taxi operators are in full compliance with the Water Taxi Regulations and that the rights of commuters are properly safeguarded.”

 

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