Formula for bus, taxi fare increase to be arrived at on Thursday

In what appears to be a clear indication that bus and taxi fares are to be increased soon, the Transport Sector Steering Committee is set to deliberate on fare adjustments on Thursday to arrive at a formula for a fare hike.

The announcement was made by Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport Minister, Daryl Vaz, at a post-Cabinet press briefing on Wednesday.

Some public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators have been clamouring for a fare increase since the last increase of 15 per cent in 2021. They have cited rising costs associated with their daily operations as one of the main reasons for their request for fare adjustments.

Vaz said the steering committee met on Tuesday, during which the group put together a proposal “fine-tuning fare adjustments” that will be concluded with a meeting on Thursday.

“That will set the stage for recommendations to come through the process, as I know that is a pressing matter, along with other issues,” he said.

“So again, the burning issue of a fare increase is going to be finally dealt with in terms of how it is handled, which means coming up with the formula that will dictate what is the reason for the need for a fare increase,” added Vaz.

He said instead of the fare increases being given at any given time, he has asked for a review of the timeline, “whether it’s annually, (or) biannually, whatever the formula that is best…, rather than it just being ad hoc and coming to the minister from different organisations, different formulas, different figures.”

The membership of the steering committee includes Vaz, other representatives of the Transport Ministry, the Transport Authority, PPV operators, and the Island Traffic Authority (ITA).

Opposition Spokesman on Transportation, Mikael Phillips, was also expected to be invited to be part of the committee.

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