Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators have renewed their call to Government to act promptly to bring them some relief.
In a joint statement issued today, Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) and the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) pointed to their proposals submitted to the Ministries of Finance, Commerce and Transport over the last three years.
The PSV operators noted that following the May 2017 set of national budgetary measures, many businesses across several sectors reacted immediately to confirm that their logical response would be an increase in prices and fees.
“The Public Service Vehicle Industry has no such option, although the sector will be severely impacted,” the PSV operators said.
“Since 2012, there has been no increase in bus fares although there have been steady increases in fuel costs as well as costs of automotive parts. These essential and recurring input costs will rise tremendously under the new arrangements.”
The PSV operators noted that it is the responsibility of the decision-makers to continually review and assess the impact of these changes, particularly in the case such as in the PSV industry where the passenger fares are legislated.
“Having admitted that the current bus fare does not reflect the cost of the service delivery, government has set aside $40 million for the Transport Board, expected to cushion the impact during this financial year – obviously in anticipation of adverse developments,” the PSV operators pointed out, adding that in their case, they must produce clearances from the Barbados Revenue Authority and National Insurance before their businesses can be approved to continue for another year.
“The relevant government agencies therefore cannot claim to not know the state of the industry and also have comparative data from the state owned entity,” they said.
“That the necessary adjustments have not been made is a stinging reminder that the PSV sector, though one of the most important links to the country’s productivity has been profoundly misunderstood or blatantly disregarded. It would be very short-sighted if the Public Service Vehicle sector were viewed as valuable only as a revenue source for the treasury,” they added.