Some ZR and minibus drivers and conductors are accusing “wicked” employers of using the hike in bus fare to exploit them, charging high leasing fees on just day two of the $3.50 fare.
Some drivers and conductors complained to Barbados TODAY that PSV owners were now ordering them to hand in a larger percentage of their day’s earnings.
The operators explained that before the increase in bus fare from $2 to $3.50, owners required between $225 and $250 per day for the lease of route taxis, but they are now demanding between $450 and $500. Minibus drivers said they now have to move from paying owners between $450 and $500, to between $900 and $1000 daily.
Drivers and conductors today, speaking to a roving Barbados TODAY team, accused PSV owners of being unreasonable and unfair to them.
One driver said there has been a falloff in commuter numbers on his route since the new bus fare went into effect on Monday, The demands of the ZR van owner are now forcing him to look for another job before “I drown”, he said.
A driver at the River Terminal complained: “You know who profiting right now, the owners. I work yesterday and I ain’t get no more money than I does get. The drivers still at square one. The owners wicked.
“Them playing them doing the maths and looking to get more money for themselves. They want all the profit. I telling you now that any owner out here that got one of the minivans and go to $400 a day, he wicked.”
Another driver said he made $600 on Tuesday, but only went home with about $60 after handing over $450 to the owner and the remaining $90 in diesel.
“So I looking to shift this driving thing too, because with all this money them want from you now you can’t make no money for yourself. I can’t handle this,” he said.
The Alliance Owners of Public Transport’s public relations officer, Mark Haynes, told Barbados TODAY he was not aware of the development but would investigate.
But Haynes said if the workers’ claims are true, the exploitation should not happen since “in this whole exercise we are looking for fairness and equity”.
Haynes said PSV owners and workers should come to an understanding that would benefit both parties.
He said: “To be fair to that driver, he is commuting the passengers and he may feel hard done by if he is not adequately remunerated. There must be some equilibrium. At the end of the day the driver has a life and he wants to work and he is working hard and I think in all fairness he should be treated fairly. He should not be discriminated against because of an increase in fare. It is not balanced and it is something that needs to be looked into.” firstname.lastname@example.org