Motorists, passengers criticise proposed Berbice Bridge toll increase

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“What about the poor people and how they will suffer? Is the bridge company and opposition thinking about the poor people or they just looking after themselves? I feel that the government should control the bridge because everybody has to live. How will we live? I’m an old man, but there are young people who took loans for their vehicles and have to repay the bank; where will they find this money from? What will the consumers who use the bridge daily, have to pay to cross the bridge?”

Dennis Chesney, President of the Minibus Association (Berbice) said today as he criticised the proposed toll hikes by the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI).

Chesney was among the many motorists and passengers that have since rebuffed the proposed toll increase.

The company has proposed a more than 400 per cent increase which is expected to take effect from November 12. This increase will see minibuses and cars travelling over the bridge paying $8,040 instead of the $2,200 previously paid.

Equally frustrated with the proposed hike in fares is Thakur Singh, who has been a Minibus Operator for more than eight years, who said the toll increase would put minibus operators out of jobs.

“If the bridge [company] is going raise the fare, we can’t work anymore! We are working and paying for our vehicles and if we can’t work, the bank will take our vehicles and we are going to be the losers! We have kids going to school, we have families, bills to pay and we are not going to make it,” he related to the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Ramkissoon, another bus operator, said he simply cannot afford the increase. “For my personal business if I have to cross the bridge. I can’t find $8,000, I can’t afford it! It is too much! That would send the passengers crazy! Where will they find the money where will they earn it?”

Kathy O’Donohue was on a bus preparing to cross the bridge when she learnt of the proposed increase.  O’Donohue said it is unfair especially for mothers who have children attending school.

“That’s unreasonable because they have to study. Parent with kids would have to find fares for all those children to cross the bridge. I believe that is absurd and they should leave it as it is or even reduce it,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson said the government would be seeking legal advice to block the proposed increases.

Ranetta LaFleur.

Images: Jameel Mohamed.

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