No increase in speed boat fares, 24-hour security at stelling
─ MARAD to ensure operators comply
Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, has warned speed boat operators plying the Demerara River against raising their fares during the ongoing emergency.
The minister visited the Stabroek stelling on Saturday to assess the systems being put in place to ensure the safety and comfort of commuters being ferried across the river.
Commuters are utilising a 24-hour river taxi service set in place by the government, to facilitate travel between Regions Three and Four, as works continue on the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
The ministry reported Saturday that a fuel tanker crashed into the bridge, rendering it inoperable.
“I have spoken with the director general of MARAD with clear instructions that the authorities will not allow any speedboat operator to moonlight and to be soliciting special hires at this particular time… Boat owners who use an emergency situation such as this to exploit others will be sanctioned, it will not be tolerated.
“Some of the things we are addressing, amid what is happening at the stelling, is to make sure speedboat operators desist from running special hires across the river. This practice, if continued, will cause delays in passengers’ movements, thus providing opportunities for fare gouging. The fare is still $100,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, senior officials are assessing the situation at the stelling in Vreed-en-Hoop on the west side, and Stabroek on the east side, to ensure there is no hike in speed boat fares.
Minister Edghill assured that the Guyana Police Force will ensure a safe environment for commuters at each stelling on a 24-hour basis.
He said his ministry is also assessing the issues caused by the incident on the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
“We are seeing what are the bugbears and we have immediately addressed them; so, we have put systems in place for a smoother movement of traffic as well as identify any other issues that needed our immediate attention.”
The minister went on to outline some of the immediate issues being addressed to lessen the discomfort caused by the incident.
“Proper lighting towers and support infrastructure are being put in place, at the docking facilities to ensure commuters’ safety when embarking and disembarking speedboats.”
Loading of passengers will also be done at the Stabroek boathouse on a floating platform to ease congestion. Minister Edghill thanked members of the Guyana Police Force, MARAD, and officers of the Guyana Defence Force and Coast Guard, who have been out in full force to support the effort.