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The National Council on Public Transportation has submitted a new proposal to the government for consideration.
This was done today, when NCOPT executives met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport Phillip J. Pierre and his team to discuss the pending bus fare increases.
NCOPT President Godfrey Ferdinand told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that the government has up to March 10, to respond to the proposal. However, until then, there will be no increase in bus fares.
Ferdinand did not disclose the content of that proposal, but said that the meeting was a very productive one.He said both parties were able to discuss a number of issues relating to the transportation sector.
“We are now looking forward to a response based on our proposal. But it was a very productive meeting. We sat and discussed a few issues we would like government to consider,” he said.
During an exclusive interview with SNO on January 21, Ferdinand had said the council will be requesting a further reduction in the price for fuel. He said that the NCOPT would seal the deal with government if fuel is reduced to EC$12.75 per gallon for minibus operators.
“That was the price for fuel the last time bus fares were raised. Anything above that puts us in loss situation and we have compromised a lot. We just want to hear what they are offering us. If we are not pleased we will know what to do,” he told SNO.
Ferdinand had also said the council would agree to a rebate, if government were to facilitate the process, in order to halt the increase in bus fares. “Based on what is presently happening to the economy, I think the rebate would be the best thing for all parties.”
The NCOPT president also said members will not accept another deadline extension for bus fare increases. He said the council has done so many times before and they need to put a stop to the uncertainty in terms of the increases and come to an agreement with the government.
The NCOPT had proposed a set price of: $0.25 cents for short drops, $0.50 to $0.75 cents for medium road drops (example, Castries to Dennery) and $1 for long road drops (example, Castries to Vieux Fort.) The last increase was in 2008.