Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Opposition denies calling for transport fare increase

Published:Tuesday | August 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Mikael Phillips

The opposition People's National Party is denying claims that it has called on the Government to increase bus and taxi fares.

Reports have been circulating on social media that leader of the Opposition, Dr Peter Philips, made the call while speaking at a constituency meeting on Sunday. However, shadow minister for transport and works, Mikael Phillips, yesterday accused the Jamaica Labour Party of spreading false information.

"We are not asking for a fare increase. We have said that the Opposition would not support a fare increase at this time, but there are some things that the Government can look at to reduce the overheads of the transport sector, such as the licensing fee, franchise fees, petrol pricing and [other] issues that affect the industry itself," Phillips told The Gleaner yesterday.

Last week, Transport Minister Robert Montague denied assertions that some taxi operators were illegally hiking fares because of the increases in the price of gas.

'Minister being short-sighted'

But his opposition counterpart insists this is happening.

"The minister is being short-sighted. If a man increases his fare, do you think he is going to come to the minister and say, 'Yes, Minister, mi increase mi fare'? That is common sense," argued Phillips.

"The travelling public has made complaints to me. One person told me that they paid $200 from Papine to Half-Way Tree. That is happening out there because a man realises he is spending more on petrol than the amount of money he's actually taking home in the evenings. Wherever he can make an extra buck, he's going to make it," Phillips said.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com