Govt assures commuters there will be no increase in bus fare
Barbadians are being assured by the Freundel Stuart administration that the bus fare will not increase anytime soon.
The assurance was given by Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley following a tour of the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal this morning.
“Not at this stage. We can’t do it to them [commuters] right now,” Lashley replied when asked by Barbados TODAY if there was any likelihood of the $2 fare rising in the foreseeable future.
The minister admitted, however, that the fare was too low, but could not say how long the Government was willing to maintain the existing rate, which was last adjusted in 2011 from the previous $1.50.
At the same time, Lashley pointed out that the one-tier rate was the lowest in the Caribbean.
In its most recent annual report, published in 2009, the Transport Board revealed that passengers rode on state-owned buses 23.9 million times during that year.
Manager of marketing and corporate communications Lynda Holder told Barbados TODAY she believed the 2014 figure would be the same.
Holder attributed this to operational challenges.
The statistics also revealed that pensioners made more than two million trips, while school children recorded in excess of four million.
The bus availability at the depot level varied throughout 2009.
The average bus availability to the peak bus requirement was 99 per cent at Weymouth, but stood at 87 per cent at the Speightstown Depot and 85 per cent at the Mangrove Depot.
Asked about the current state of bus service, Minister Lashley replied: “we have not had the complaints we have had earlier in the year so I think there has been some improvement.”
However, he noted that even if the service was 95 per cent satisfactory, there would still be some “dissenting voices.”