Minister Ferguson to meet NA hire car drivers

first_imgBerbice River taxis time change… no moves yet to further reduceBerbice Bridge tollsBerbice taxi drivers can expect some relief after Junior Public Infrastructure Minister Annette Ferguson pledged to meet with them to address their concerns over the amended operating hours of the water taxies.Hire car drivers picketing the T&HD office in NAFrom September 1, the speedboat service began operating from 06:00h until 09:00h and then again from 14:30h until 18:00h. Previously, the service operated between 06:00h and 18:00h.The taxi drivers, operating from the New Amsterdam Ferry Stelling, have complained that the change in the operating hours will severely affect their trade since it will limit the frequency of passengers who normally utilise their services after disembarking the boats.Minister Ferguson told a recent news conference that she intends to address these concerns to ensure everyone “enjoys a piece of the pie”.“In the past, we have received complaints from minibus operators about not getting a share in the pie because of the timings. So we took a conscious decision to have the timings rescheduled,” she explained, noting that the move to reschedule the operating hours was done to facilitate the bus drivers.But now, taxi drivers seem to be affected by this shift.“They are now complaining of now being able to get a daily bread. So I am expected to meet with them so we can have that addressed,” she stated.Nonetheless, the Minister indicated that the hire car operators are just being difficult since they had previously operated under similar circumstances without complaint.“Prior to the river taxies coming into operations, the Transport and Harbours department (T&HD) had a pontoon providing services and the time for the operations were between six in the morning to about 9:30 and then it resumed its operations from about two in the afternoon to five. So, it’s not a case whereby Government, or the Ministry, of the management of TH&D wants to take bread out of persons’ mouth. Those were in existence long before river taxies came into operations,” Ferguson explained.However, the Minister pledged her commitment to resolve the issue but she noted that decision may not be in favour of all stakeholders.BBCI shareholdersMeanwhile, close to 10 months after the reduction of the Berbice River Bridge tolls, Government on Wednesday said is yet to hold talks with shareholders on the further decrease in the fares.Government had indicated that it would work towards continuing the lowering of tolls, with January 1, 2016 being the first move.However, Minister Ferguson disclosed that no progress has been made in this regard.After months of debate and negotiations between Government and the company, Government reduced fares to cross the Berbice Bridge by granting a $40 million subsidy to the Bridge Company.Government prior to its ascension to office had promised a toll reduction, but seemingly did not take into consideration the numerous legal and other issues involving such a move. As such, there was much debate between the Bridge Company, its shareholders and the Government over the issue.last_img read more