KINGSTON — Mike Henry, former minister of transport and works, says the government’s handling of the imminent public transport sector fare increase is “inequitable, unsustainable and downright unfair”.
In a statement released yesterday, Henry says the planned fare increase will place a further burden on the country.
“The fare increase route, which the government is pursuing, is inequitable, unsustainable and downright unfair to the country’s travelling public, and will only place an even greater burden on the country and the rural-urban travellers, especially schoolchildren from the parishes not served by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company.”
Henry says the government must remember that the taxes of all Jamaicans subsidises the JUTC, which generally serves the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Regio. The region comprises Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine and parts of St. Thomas.
“This unbalanced and uneconomic system produces the following inequity: a child living in Longville Park, Clarendon, where the JUTC has now reached, can travel to school in Kingston on the Executive Service for $500 daily, while his counterpart who lives in Spanish Town travels for $40 daily, over distances of some 20 and 13 miles, respectively.
“This is while a child in May Pen travelling from, say, Bucknor to Garvey Maceo or Vere Technical High School, distances of less than 15 miles, pays $500-$700 daily,” the release reads.
“Notably, all of the above fares will be dramatically increased with the pending fare hike, unless the government returns to the plan that was left behind by the last Jamaica Labour Party Government, and use our rural-urban bus plan to equitably distribute the cost of travel across the island by increasing the outreach of the JUTC and Montego Bay Metro bus company, and jointly implementing a mileage-based fare structure through the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), thus equating the cost of travel for all bus users.” (Observer)