Negotiations ongoing to further reduce Berbice Bridge toll- Route 56 buses could cross for “next to nothing”- Minister Patterson

DPI/GINA, Thursday, June 08, 2017

Berbicians can soon expect a further ease on their pockets as negotiations continue between the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI).

The Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated

This was disclosed by Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson who pointed out that BBCI approached the Ministry for help, and he is using the opportunity to ease the financial strain on the Berbicians. According to the Minister, the negotiations are geared towards ensuring that the No. 56 minibuses which traverse the Rosignol to New Amsterdam route cross the bridge for a minimal cost. Minister Patterson stated that “minibuses must pass next to nothing”.

Once the negotiations are successful, this would positively impact the daily lives of students, teachers, and nurses, among others who utilise the bridge on a daily basis.

The Minister said that the BBCI, “were supposed to come back to me beginning of this month so as soon as they come back and as soon that is agreed, I will implement it so I am hoping that everybody could make a living, and Berbice could make a living.”

Additionally, Minister Patterson noted that it is expected that the minibus operators drop the passengers’ prices to “low gravy” once the deal is done.

The government, since taking office in 2015 has taken all steps necessary to ease the strain on the pockets of commuters traversing the Berbice Bridge, as the cost to cross the bridge was deemed to be too high.

After much deliberation, the toll was eventually reduced by the BCCI in keeping with what was proposed by the government. The 10 per cent decrease was welcomed by the bus drivers of the Route 56 Minibus Association but they believed that much more could have been done for them.

However, the government was faced with the unwillingness by the BBCI to reduce the tolls even though the government guaranteed the subsidy.  The subsidy was put in place to ensure that the company lost no revenue as a result of the reduction

When the 2015 National Budget was passed, the government took the first step which ensured the prices for minibuses to cross was lowered from $2200 to $1900 which represented a 10 per cent decrease in the toll. This was a promise made and fulfilled by the government.

 

By: Isaiah Braithwaite

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