Passengers decry unlawful double-fare hike on Sundays, holidays

first_imgGeorgetown/Vreed-en-Hoop crossingA number of passengers who utilise the services of speedboats to cross alternately from Georgetown to Vreed-en-Hoop have complained of the double-fare being demanded by these speedboat operators on Sundays and holidays; and head of the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has since denounced this practice.This newspaper has been informed that boat operators also usually demand an increase of an additional $100 when they transport half the number of passengers on this route on a normal day.Harbour Master of the Maritime Administration Department, Michael Tennant, has since told this publication he is aware of the situation. He said the increase is unlawful, and passengers should report those boat operators who engage in the practice. He has advised that passengers should note the name of the boat and time of the incident, so that it can be investigated.When Guyana Times visited the Georgetown Stelling on Friday, some disgruntled passengers opined that the fare increase is quite burdensome and “unfair” to them. An angry passenger said, “I ain’t get raise on my salary, so I ain’t concern with no raise of fare! I won’t go for no raise of fare!”Another frequent boat user told <>, “I think that the fee increase on weekends and holidays is unnecessary and unacceptable. The boat captains and bowmen would have the maximum number of persons on board and still charge the $200 fee. It is a matter that should be looked into by the relevant authorities, because it’s an act of exploiting customers.”“We have no other choice. Sometimes — especially when they (boat operators) know that the bridge is closed — they try to exploit us, and I think that is unfair,” another passenger of the water taxis said.Still another passenger noted that she has experienced the increase predominantly on Sundays and holidays.“The double-fare being charged by boat operators on Sundays and holidays is definitely ridiculous! It’s unethical! This was never approved! I believe only persons who aren’t aware of this are the ones that are being targeted. I pay $100 on those days, especially when the boats travel with a full load,” this passenger said.Agreeing with the statements expressed by most passengers, Trisha Patterson said she has seen cases in which the boat operators come over with full loads and still demand $200 from each passenger. According to her, the situation needs to be investigated, since “a lot of people don’t get money to give them. Is what they feel? They tryin to make a living by exploiting people! If you don’t give them de money, them does try to shame you and buse you”.“It’s not fair! Because salary-wise, payment and so, they are exploiting us on Sundays and so. It should be $100 for the fare per person, because people got family and so to maintain,” another passenger contended.Some passengers have, however, said they usually willingly pay the extra money, and they do not have an issue with the additional fee being charged on selected days.A bowman who spoke to this newspaper said the fares are increased on Sundays and holidays because those are not full working days.“Sundays and holidays is $200 (charged) because we ain’t supposed to be working. So them man does come out because them ain’t got nothing fuh do (and them want) fuh try and help de passengers to get across more fast. $200 a head. Me ain’t know why them (passengers) does row, because this is de cheapest boat fare around here,” he declared.last_img