Mini-bus drivers have been under immense financial pressure since Covid-19, having to carry fewer passengers than their seating capacity would allow because of social distancing rules during the pandemic.
For many Mini-Bus owners, it had become unprofitable to conduct business, resulting in prolonged periods of inactivity and no income.
As if their problems were not enough, the conflict in Ukraine brought with it an increase in the price of crude oil and all associated petroleum products. Significant increases in the landed price of gas and diesel forced the government to adjust the retail prices of gasoline and diesel, to ensure that the government honored its commitment to preserve the margins of fuel importers and to collect a modest excise tax, below $1 per gallon.
In the last six weeks, gasoline and diesel have increased by $2.00 per gallon bringing the price of the two products to $15.95 per gallon.
Representatives of the mini-bus operators, frustrated by years of unfulfilled promises with the previous administration, requested early dialogue with the government for adjustments to bus fares in the light of Covid restrictions and rising fuel prices.
According to reliable sources, the Government of Saint Lucia has agreed to increases in bus fares of 25 cents on short trips and $1.00 on long trips. These changes are to take effect in the first week of May 2022.