Minibus drivers of Vieux-Fort plying the 4B route have taken protest action from last Friday for what they described as the tardiness on the part of the Transport Board in implementing their adjusted bus fares.
However, they took it on their own to make some adjustment to their prices, which they say was long overdue.
Rout 4B consists of minibuses plying the route from Vieux-Fort to Aupicon, Pierrot and Bellevue in Vieux-Fort North.
According to the irate minibus drivers, their actions have nothing to do with politics or the terrible condition of the road.
According to Sheldon Leriche, secretary of Route 4B Minibus Drivers Association, the original price list was adjusted in 2008 after the Transport Board realised it had made mistakes in it.
He showed this reporter two correspondences from the Board, one admitting an error was made in the original price list, and another, the adjusted price list. However, no specific date was given when the adjusted price list would be implemented.
According to Leriche, the Board told them that the matter has to go through a process, so give them some time to deal with it, and in the meantime discuss the mistake with the commuters. He added that the Board had given them the assurance that after the review period of the bus fares which is every three years, the matter will be rectified.
He said when they realised their concerns were not being addressed, in 2012 they began to agitate for the adjusted price to be implemented.
“Nine years after errors were made on our price lists and the boundaries nothing has happened,” Leriche lamented.
He added that the Board even made mistakes in the location of certain communities along their routes.
“They made mistakes in stating which route comes first and which one comes after….” Leriche said.
He said they are at a disadvantage when compared with the prices charged in other routes in the south of the island.
Leriche said they are now hoping that someone in authority will intervene and have the matter settled amicably.
According to him, it pains them to see how the commuters are affected by their actions, but they have to take a stand.
“It’s sad to see people boarding pick-ups to go work,” Leriche said.
President of the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) Linus St. Clair and Transport Officer in the Ministry of Transportation, Nigel Joseph could not be reached for comments.
However, the actions of the minibus drivers have been described as illegal by sources in the Ministry of Transportation.